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Best podcasts about virginia department

Latest podcast episodes about virginia department

The Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed
Three Martini Lunch: Chicago Teachers Flunk, Government's Accountability Crisis, Dizzying New COVID Rules

The Ricochet Audio Network Superfeed

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022


After noting Sen. Schumer’s latest failure to kill the filibuster, Jim and Greg serve up three crazy martinis! First, they hammer the Chicago Teachers Union for refusing to teach in-person over the Omicron case numbers. They also unload on the Virginia Department of Transportation for continuing an ugly governmental trend of admitting a major problem […]

3 Martini Lunch
Chicago Teachers Flunk, Government's Accountability Crisis, Dizzying New COVID Rules

3 Martini Lunch

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 28:39


After noting Sen. Schumer's latest failure to kill the filibuster, Jim and Greg serve up three crazy martinis! First, they hammer the Chicago Teachers Union for refusing to teach in-person over the Omicron case numbers. They also unload on the Virginia Department of Transportation for continuing an ugly governmental trend of admitting a major problem but insisting that nothing could have been done better in response to the traffic nightmare on I-95. And their heads are spinning as the CDC releases absurdly burdensome recommendations for fighting COVID and that private employers are following the mandates and firing people while nothing happens to unvaccinated federal employees.Please visit our great sponsors:Headspacehttps://headspace.com/martiniGet 1-month FREE of their entire mindfulness library.My Pillow https://www.mypillow.comNo supply chain issues with My Pillow! Shop now with confidence. Use code MARTINI at check out.

Charlottesville Community Engagement
January 5, 2022: Storm clean-up continues with power outages slowly being restored; Albemarle BOS ended 2021 by approving a major rezoning

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 20:39


The Charlottesville region continues to dig out after an early winter storm sets the tone for 2022, a year that has a lot to do to compete with its cousins 2020 and 2021. Only five days in, and it’s possible we’re going to be in for a bumpy ride. Charlottesville Community Engagement is prepared, and asks that you keep your arms and hands inside the vehicle at all times, lest you be thrown to the wolves. I’m Sean Tubbs. On today’s program:As the Albemarle Board of Supervisors begins a new year, the last year ended with rezoning on Rio Road East for a maximum of 328 units Governor-elect Youngkin appoints his top agricultural officialsThe community continues to recover from a devastating winter storm Subscriber-supported shout-out Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects such as an expungement project with the Legal Aid Justice Center, a map of Charlottesville streetlights, and the Charlottesville Housing Hub. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects.Storm recoveryThere are still many thousands of people without power across central Virginia, two days after a winter storm hit that surprised many after the New Year began with temperature in the sixties. As the sun rose this morning, Dominion’s outage map shows about a third of its customers in Albemarle remain without power. That number began to drop throughout this morning. The situation in Charlottesville is markedly improved with just over a tenth of the city’s 24,744 customers without power at su“As of 11:00 p.m. Tuesday, crews have already restored power to 310,000 customers impacted by this damaging storm,” reads an email the company sent out late last night. They urge anyone affected who hasn’t reported their outage to update that info at dominionenergy.com or phone 1-866-366-4357. Louisa County customers on Dominion Energy are still out, and about two-thirds remain out in Fluvanna. Several areas of the community are served by Central Virginia Electric Cooperative, who report about a third of their customers without power this morning. View their map here. Charlottesville has sent out a notice to property owners reminding them that public sidewalks must be shoveled 24 hours after a snowfall. “With widespread power outages and the severity of this particular snowstorm, the City recognizes the need for additional time,” reads the release. “As a result, the Deputy City Managers have declared 8:00 am on Thursday, January 6, 2022 to be the official end of snowfall.”That gives property owners until Friday at 8 a.m. to clear pathways, but the notice acknowledges the potential of another storm on Thursday and points out that the time will reset if a second storm hits this week. Charlottesville will delay trash and recycling pick-up one more day until Thursday and residents who get service Monday through Wednesday won’t get service this week. “With the potential for an additional snow system arriving at the end of the week this current revised schedule is subject to change,” reads a release. Interstate 95 was opened in both direction last night shortly after 8 p.m. after being closed for most of yesterday due to traffic jams caused by hazardous and impassable conditions. A release sent out by the Virginia Department of Transportation last night warned drivers that parts of the roadway in Stafford, Spotsylvania, and Caroline counties remained hazardous with below freezing temperatures. Albemarle public safety responds to shooting, structure fireIn addition to contending with the aftermath of the snow storm, Albemarle public safety had two other incidents yesterday. In one, police responded at 11:15 a.m. to a shots fired incident on Dick Woods Road and arrested an Afton man on charges of brandishing and reckless discharge of a firearm. Marc McCann, 62, is currently being held at Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail without bond.Later in the day at around 3 p.m., Albemarle County Fire Rescue responded to a structure fire on Route 53 near Milton Road that injured one and displaced three. While the cause of the fire is under investigation, the news release contains this warning. “Albemarle County Fire Rescue would like to remind everyone to keep anything that can burn at least three feet from heating equipment and to always use the right kind of fuel, specified by the manufacturer, for fuel-burning heaters,” reads the release. Youngkin makes agricultural picksIncoming Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has named two people who will oversee policy and programs related to agriculture in Virginia. Matt Lohr will be the Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry and Joseph Guthrie will be the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. According to a release sent out yesterday afternoon, Lohr is a fifth-generation farmer from the Shenandoah Valley who has been chief of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service. He served in the House of Delegates from 2006 to 2010 before becoming the Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.That position will now be filled by Guthrie, who grew up on a family farm in Pulaski County. Guthrie is currently a senior instructor at Virginia Tech where he was named as Man of the Year in 1989 as a graduating senior. He and his family continue to own a beef farm in the New River Valley. There are several reports that Youngkin will nominate his Secretary of Natural Resources later today. I’ll have that information tomorrow. Prince Edward County seeks local sales tax for education; other billsThe General Assembly session convenes in seven days and about two new dozen bills were pre-filed yesterday including more proposed rollbacks of legislation that passed the General Assembly under Democratic control in both houses. Delegate James Edmunds (R-60) filed a bill that would add Prince Edward County to the list of localities authorized to levy a one percent sales tax to fund education projects, if approved by a referendum. (HB63)Edmunds also filed a bill allowing hunting on Sundays but only in wildlife management areas operated by the Department of Wildlife Resources. (HB64)In another piece of legislation, Edmunds has a bill that would allow employees of the Department of Wildlife Resources “to sell, possess, sell, offer for sale, or liberate in the Commonwealth any live fur-bearing animal commonly referred to as nutria.” (HB65)Edmunds has a fourth bill that would allow people with valid driver’s licenses to operate certain utility vehicles on secondary roads in counties with fewer than 100,000 people. (HB66)Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-83) has a bill clarifying that active military with homes in Virginia are registered to vote if they are on active duty. (HB68)Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) filed a bill altering the section of code dealing with custody to change the word “visitation” to “parenting time” and to encourage maximization of time spent with each parent. (HB69)Davis also filed a bill that would guarantee minimum rights for police officers and removing exceptions for those rights if a locality has a police civilian review board. (HB70)Delegate Lee Ware (R-65) filed a bill prohibiting campaign finance donations from utility companies or their subsidiaries. (HB71)Ware also filed legislation prohibiting the sale of marijuana seeds or plants if the Assembly passed other legislation to allow retail sale of the end-product. (HB72)Ware also has a bill that would remove several sections of language in the state code that pertains to the Air Pollution Control Board. (HB73)There’s other legislation from Ware that would tweak the Virginia Clean Economy Act by adding a definition for “energy-intensive trade-exposed industries.” (HB74)Last year, Albemarle County Supervisors suggested they would like to look into increasing the transient occupancy tax to more than four percent. Ware has another bill that would require a referendum for counties that want to do that or increase the meals tax. (HB75)Ware has another bill that would require the state government to reimburse localities for the cost of counting absentee ballots. (HB76)Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) also has a bill specifying that skills games are gambling devices (HB77)Annoyed by free online trials that don’t seem to have a cancellation option? Davis has a bill that would make that illegal. (HB78)Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-24) has a bill that would restore police ability to stop motorists and pedestrians for a variety of infractions including detecting the presence of marijuana. (HB79)Delegate Davis has another bill that would create the Virginia Healthcare Regulatory Sandbox Program for innovative and pilot health care products. (HB80)Today’s Patreon-fueled shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Pandemic update: Another 10K+ dayThis morning the Virginia Department of Health reports another 10,728 new COVID cases and the percent positivity has increased to 32 percent, meaning that one in every three PCR is positive. Positivity in the Blue Ridge Health District is at 24.7, or one in four tests. There are 207 new cases in the district reported today. A town hall scheduled for last night was postponed and will be held on Thursday at 7 p.m. (meeting info)Starting January 1, VDH has updated its case definition for COVID-19 related deaths which will mean delays in the reporting of deaths. The agency recommends monitoring that information by date of death rather than date reported. Learn more here. Supervisors approved Rio Point project in late December In one of their last actions of 2021, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors voted to approve a rezoning in the Rio District that will bring over 300 rental units to the county’s urban ring. The project had originally been developed by a Virginia Beach firm who opted to not continue with the review process after Supervisors appeared ready to deny the project on a tie-vote on June 3, 2020. Local company Stony Point Design Build took over and have since purchased the 27-acre property. The company also built Dairy Central in Charlottesville. Stony Point Design Build renamed the project Rio Point but more or less kept the development, though they made a few changes. Cameron Langille is a planner with Albemarle County. “To the northeast is the Dunlora subdivision, to the southeast is the Dunlora Forest neighborhood,” Langille said. “The property is bounded by the north by the John Warner Parkway and across John Warner Parkway is the CATEC site and to the east is actually land that’s within the city of Charlottesville’s municipal boundaries.” Many of those neighbors have expressed concern about building more homes in that area, making the argument that the roads are already overburdened. The land has been zoned R-4 for many decades. “Under that zoning they could be developed for residential purposes up to 109 units or if they did a bonus level cluster development they could get 163 units,” Langille said.Doing so would likely mean all would be sold at market rate. That’s how Southern Development developed Dunlora Forest. The county’s Comprehensive Plan for many years has encouraged developers to seek rezoning to increase residential density in order to satisfy the county’s growth management policy.“The developer is proposing 328 units maximum,” Langille said. “There is some open space areas that are also proposed. Overall it is about 13 total acres and 1.1 acres of that open space is located closest to the intersection of the John Warner Parkway and Rio Road East. This applicant is proposing to dedicate that to public use to establish a county park that will be connected to the existing greenway system.” The new developer submitted a new traffic impact study that informed changes made to the vehicular entrances to the project and have dedicated other property along Rio Road to allow for tapered turn lanes. But Langille said the biggest change is the approval and funding of a roundabout at the intersection of John Warner Parkway and Rio Road. “It would get rid of the signalized intersection that’s currently at John Warner Parkway and Rio Road East and it would be a roundabout that would allow the traffic flow to move in any of the direction that it currently does,” Langille said. Stony Point Design Build would contribute $750,000 to the roundabout. Survey work is underway and Langille said its design will begin later this year. He added that Agnor-Hurt Elementary and Burley Middle School can both absorb students that would be generated by the development, but acknowledged that the project may contribute to existing overcrowding at Albemarle High School. All but two of the ten speakers at the public hearing asked the Board to deny the application. “In my opinion, doubling the allowable density for a development of this type which is built on a two-lane road which will always be a two-lane road and is surrounded by two lane roads in all directions is a little misguided,” said Lisa Drummond, a nearby resident. “The by-right with bonus still gets you within what’s in range of the master plan.” However, Supervisors appeared to be in favor of the project to help achieve the county’s goal to create more housing units as identified in the Housing Albemarle plan.  “Without a doubt, the market is demanding rental and we need more rental which is what this provides,” said Supervisor Diantha McKeel. Chris Henry, the president of Stony Point Development Group, said that his firm conducts market analysis before proceeding with its projects. “Today the vacancy rate for apartments in Albemarle County is like one percent,” Henry said. “What’s considered a healthy vacancy rate in any market is something like five percent and I don’t think Charlottesville  has had north of a five percent vacancy rate for a decade at least.” Henry also claimed that 30,000 commuters travel into Charlottesville every day and providing more homes within the urban ring would reduce the overall vehicle miles traveled. He said a comparable project is Arden Place for rents. The affordable rents will be over $1,000 for a one bedroom unit versus about $1,400 for a market rate unit. Supervisor Ned Gallaway noted that the proposal was submitted under Albemarle’s previous housing policies, which required 15 percent of housing units created under a rezoning to be affordable. Housing Albemarle moved that to 20 percent, though Supervisors have yet to approve an incentives package designed to help developers make that goal. “Going it under the old policy allows an easy, quick efficiency to happen,” Gallaway said. “To aspire to the new Housing Albemarle plan would require something different. Was that considered?”Henry said the project might have been able to make that 20 percent goal with additional density. The previous developer had originally requested more than 400 units, but that was reduced due to community engagement. “There’s always the trade-off between more density and more affordability because obvious the project is supported by the revenue that’s being generated from those units,” Henry said. “If the revenue is lowered, we have to have more units to get to the same result. And so, from our perspective we considered it. If we had to meet the county’s new requirement that was enacted after this application was completed, we would have wanted to have significantly more units to offset.” Supervisor Donna Price had been opposed to the rezoning went it was before the Board of Supervisors in June 2020 due to transportation concerns.“I feel like we have a better application in front of us today than we did then and I appreciate the changes you have made,” Price said. Gallaway, however, could not support the project because he said it was not quite ready because the second phase of a corridor study for Rio Road is not yet complete and because it does not meet the Housing Albemarle goals. “I’m frustrated that this application has made it before us before that corridor study is done and I’m equally frustrated that some comments have been made that we’ve learned enough from the corridor study to be able to make some of those decisions,” Gallaway said. The vote was 5-1 in favor of the rezoning. To learn more about the Rio Road Corridor Study, visit this website. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
January 4, 2022: Winter storm knocks power out for thousands, strands motorists on I-95; Pfizer booster approved for those aged 12 to 15

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2022 18:09


Welcome to January 4, which goes by many names. It’s National Trivia Day, according to nationaldaycalendar.com. It’s also National Spaghetti Day and National Missouri Day, two more pieces of information you might not necessarily need to know, but there you are. Another piece of information is that this is Charlottesville Community Engagement. Who is the host? Send me your best guess.Charlottesville Community Engagement is a service of Town Crier Productions that depends on contributions from readers and listeners. Sign up for free today and decide later if you’d like to support the show with a subscription.  On today’s show:A winter storm has caused various delays and power outages through the region with the effects still being felt this morningThe ARB seeks changes to a three-story self-storage building proposed at the intersection of U.S. 250 and Crozet Avenue The Blue Ridge Health District will hold a town hall on the pandemic tonight, and people between the age of 12 and 15 are now eligible for the Pfizer boosterGovernor Youngkin appoints more staff as well as key positions in veteran services Virginia sets up a mortgage relief fund Today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement goes out to Camp Albemarle, which has for sixty years been a “wholesome rural, rustic and restful site for youth activities, church groups, civic events and occasional private programs.”Located on 14 acres on the banks of the Moorman’s River near Free Union, Camp Albemarle continues as a legacy of being a Civilian Conservation Corps project that sought to promote the importance of rural activities. Camp Albemarle seeks support for a plan to winterize the Hamner Lodge, a structure built in 1941 by the CCC and used by every 4th and 5th grade student in Charlottesville and Albemarle for the study ecology for over 20 years. If this campaign is successful, Camp Albemarle could operate year-round. Consider your support by visiting their website to make a donation. Storm aftermathThousands of homes throughout the region continue to be without power a day after a winter storm charged through the area one day after temperatures in the sixties. Downed tree branches due to heavy snow have knocked out power lines. As of 9 a.m. this morning, Dominion Energy reported 21,152 customers without power in Albemarle and 4,619 customers in Charlottesville. Nearly all customers in Louisa remained without power as the sun rose. Around two-thirds of Fluvanna customers were without power. Consult their outage map for updated information. The storm canceled the meetings of both the Louisa County Board of Supervisors and the Charlottesville City Council. Louisa will meet tonight beginning at 5 p.m. to select a chair and vice chair before going into closed session. The new City Council will meet tomorrow at 5:30 p.m. to go into closed session before an open session scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Trash service in the city of Charlottesville was delayed yesterday and has been canceled for today. That will mean a two-day delay for city residents beginning tomorrow when Monday’s service will resume. The service week will conclude on Sunday. Learn more in this release.Elsewhere in Virginia, I-95 south of D.C. remains close at publication with reports of thousands of stranded drivers. That includes Senator Tim Kaine. Pandemic update: FDA approved Pfizer booster for 12+The omicron surge continues in Virginia with the Virginia Department of Health reporting another 15,449 new cases and the percent positivity statewide has now increased to 29.9 percent. The percent positivity in the Blue Ridge Health District is at 22.8 percent and there are 326 new cases. District officials will hold a virtual town hall meeting tonight beginning at 7 p.m. and the main topic is local guidance on new CDC rules related to quarantine and isolation following a diagnosis. (meeting info)On Monday, the Food and Drug Administration expanded the use of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine in three ways. Individuals between the age of 12 and 15 will soon be able to get a single booster dose. They’ve also allowed a shortening of the time between completing the first two doses and the booster to a minimum of five months. Thirdly, children between five and 11 with certain immunocompromised conditions will also be able for a third shot of the primary series. According to a press release, the FDA analyzed data from Israel where the booster has been authorized for those between 12 and 15. They argue the data shows the benefits of protection from new variants outweighs the potential risks. Virginia Mortgage Relief If you or someone you know is having trouble paying your mortgage, the Commonwealth of Virginia has a new relief program. Applications are now open for the program, which follows on the heels of the Virginia Rent Relief Program. “The Commonwealth has implemented rent and mortgage relief programs through designated state and federal resources,” reads a press release from outgoing Governor Ralph Northam. “Combined, these programs have provided more than $519.5 million in 106,621 rent relief payments for more than 76,500 households across Virginia.”The funding source for the new program comes from the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Homeowner’s Assistance Fund. To be eligible, households need to demonstrate a reduction of income after January of 2020. For more information, visit virginiamortgagerelief.com.Youngkin names top staff, two key Veterans’ positionsGovernor-elect Glenn Youngkin will take office in less than two weeks, and he continues to flesh out his cabinet. Yesterday he names a chief of staff and other top positions. Richard Cullen will serve as Counselor, Jeff Goettman will serve as Chief of Staff, and Rebecca Glover will be Assistant Chief of Staff and Communications Director. Eric Moeller will be the Chief Transformation Officer. Cullen is a senior partner at the law firm McGuireWoods who served as Attorney General in 1997. Previous clients have included former Vice President Mike Pence and former FIFA president Sepp Blatter. Learn more about the appointments in a release on the transition website.This morning, Youngkin appointed Craig Crenshaw to serve as his Secretary of Veterans and Defense Affairs. Crenshaw is a former marine who is currently the president of Claxton Logistics Services. Dan Gade will be the Commissioner of the Department of Veterans Services. Gade is a veteran of the second Iraq War who lost his right leg in 2005. He is the co-founder of The Independence Project and was also the Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in the 2020 race won by Senator Mark Warner. More 2022 General Assembly bills  Eight days to go until the 2022 General Assembly begins, and volume of pre–filed bills is still low enough to report. Once the session begins, action moves fast. Senator John Cosgrove (R-Chesapeake) filed a bill requiring the state Registrar to amend death certificates within 30 days if there is new evidence and information. (SB55)Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) filed legislation to establish a Foster Care Prevention program intended to encourage children to be placed with relatives. (SB56)Senator Favola has another bill that would establish the School Health Services Committee to provide guidance on any proposals that might require local school boards to provide health services. (SB62)Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) filed a bill to amend the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act to exempt gift tickets or admission fees if the responsible person is using them to perform official duties. (SB57)Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-24) wants to add zoos to the list of entities from which animals can be seized if they are being treated cruelly. (HB53)Incoming Delegate Karen Greenhalgh (R-85) would require absentee ballots to sorted by precinct. (HB54)Greenhalgh also submitted a bill to require the State Registrar of Vital Records to transmit a list of recent deaths to the Department of Elections on a weekly basis for the purpose of taking the deceased off the voter rolls. Currently they must do so monthly. (HB55)Delegate Bill Wiley (R-29) filed a bill to provide enhanced retirement benefits for juvenile detention specialists. (HB56)Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-83) would limit the power of a governor’s declaration of emergency to 45 days without General Assembly approval. (HB57)Delegate Glenn Davis (R-84) has a bill that would prevent localities from placing minimum wage and benefit requirements when procuring services from contractors. (HB58)Delegate John McGuire (R-56) would require school principals to notify law enforcement of any acts that could be construed as a misdemeanor. (HB59)McGuire has another bill seeking permission for the Town of Louisa to appoint five to seven members to an economic development authority. Currently the code specifies seven. (HB60)McGuire has another bill that would allow individuals who work as both an employee and a volunteer for a public entity to be able to earn overtime for the employment portion of their service. (HB61)Senator Travis Hackworth (R-38) filed a bill to require the chief of police of a dissolved department to relinquish records to the sheriff of that locality. Seems specific. (SB59)Hackworth has another bill that would move the deadline for political subdivisions to provide information on emergency sheltering capacity to the State Coordinator of Emergency Management from May to August. (SB60)Hackworth also filed legislation to allow judges, law-enforcement officers, attorneys, and judges to carry concealed weapons in areas where they may otherwise be prohibited. (SB61)Distilleries would be allowed to sell products directly to consumers via the Internet if a bill from Senator Frank Ruff (R-15) becomes law. (SB65)Today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that  jazz, and there’s no time like now to find a time to get out and watch people love to play. The Charlottesville Jazz Society keeps a running list of what’s coming up at cvillejazz.org. This Thursday, the Charles Owens Trio will play Potter’s Craft Cider and on Saturday the Eric Franzen Trio plays at Early Mountain Vineyards. Sign up today to see the rest!Further delays for Smith Aquatic CenterJanuary 3 had been the expected reopening day for the Smith Aquatic and Fitness Center in Charlottesville, but further repair is needed for the facility which opened in 2010. However, a release that went out this morning now states that Smith will remain closed until a “spring 2022 reopening.”Smith has been plagued with ventilation issues since soon after it opened. According to a 2015 Daily Progress article, the facility closed for several weeks in 2015 for installation of new exhaust systems. The pool closed again in April 2019 for repairs and was slated to be closed in the spring of 2020 for a $1.8 million repair that has not yet been completed. Crow Indoor Pool is open. ARB seeks smaller scale for Crozet self-storage facilityThe winter storm yesterday ended up canceling all three of the government meetings scheduled including the Albemarle Architectural Review Board. That group last met on December 20 when they weighed in on a self-storage facility proposed for the intersection of U.S. 250 and Crozet Avenue. Margaret Maliszewski is a planning manager who works with the ARB. (watch the meeting)“The proposed building is three stories tall with a 30,000 square foot footprint,” Maliszewski said. “The building as shown on the plan measures 260 feet by 120 feet.”Staff is concerned about the size of the building in relation to what’s around it. Maliszewski said the developer submitted a design with architectural treatments intended to break down the design, but continued to have concerns with the preliminary design. The property is zoned for highway commercial, so the use is allowed but must comply with entrance corridor guidelines. Doug Bates, a member of the Downtown Crozet Initiative and the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. During public comment, he said the project is not consistent with a Crozet Master Plan that seeks to build larger structures closer to downtown and now on U.S. 250.“I can’t think of a more important corridor to deal with Crozet and I would urge this Architectural Review Board to consider your broader responsibilities to keep the community coherent,” Bates said. Another member of the public urged the county to deny the whole proposal. “I think we’re giving too much importance to by-right and not enough to what really needs to go there,” said Brenda Plantz. “It’s a Scenic Highway.” However, Virginia law is clear that property owners are entitled to uses laid out in the zoning code as explained by ARB Chair Dade Van Der Werf. “I think I can speak on behalf of the board to say we certainly appreciate and share the appreciation that this is a significant intersection on these entrance corridors and I think our charge on the ARB aligns with the desire for coherence in the order of the county,” van der Werf said. “We are not empowered to affect zoning or use. That’s kind of the responsibility of the Planning and other commissions.”However, ARB members did express concerns such as this one from Frank Stoner.“I took struggle with the scale of this building,” Stoner said. “It’s very close to the intersection. If there was a way to push it back on the site and make it sort of an ancillary use to something more appropriate that was on the corner, I think I could be supportive.” ARB member Fred Missel also wanted to look very closely to see how the entrance corridor guidelines could be applied at this location.“In my opinion, this project is precisely an example of what the guidelines are designed to help us guard against,” Missel said. “I think we have to not only take our guidelines seriously but also ask the applicant to spend some significant amount of time looking through our guidelines, really understanding them, reflecting on them, and addressing them both visually and also narratively  the next time we speak if its in a work session which I think is probably smart.” Missel said the ARB cannot comment on the use but said the scale is incompatible with the county’s guidelines. The ARB voted 4-0 on a resolution stating their lack of support with one member recusing himself. Recommendations including trying to make the building seem more like a two-story building and looking at other buildings along the corridor to find compatibility. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 610 (1-3-22): Wading into the New Year, the New River, and Water Thermodynamics

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:20).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 12-31-21.TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of January 3, 2022.  This revised episode from January 2014 is part of a series this year of winter-related episodes. For this first week of 2022, we listen in on one Virginian's annual New Year's challenge to the laws of physics and chemistry—water-temperature physics and chemistry, that is.  Have a listen for about 35 seconds. SOUNDS AND VOICE - ~35 sec – “It's the New Year, on the shore of the New River. It's 22 degrees and perfect time for a swim. Happy New Year, everyone! Happy New Year! [Series of exclamations about the cold.] Ah, welcome to Antarctica.” You've been listening to Blacksburg resident Alan Moore during the 2014 version of his annual New Year's Day wade into the New River.  The watery welcome to that January 1st—unaided by a wet-suit—lasted only a few seconds, not as much because of the 22-degree air temperature as because of the 39-degree water temperature.  Water that cold can cause exhaustion or unconsciousness within 15 to 30 minutes, and even water at 60 or 70 degrees can be dangerously chilling over one to two hours, depending on a person's body size and other factors. Water's capacity to chill a human body is much greater than that of air at the same temperature, for two reasons.  First, liquids generally conduct heat more rapidly than gases, because liquids are denser (that is, the molecules are closer together).  And second, liquid water has chemical attractions between molecules that can absorb high amounts of energy, such as heat energy coming from a person's body.  These and other interactions among water, heat, and temperature are part of water's thermodynamics, and they exert a big influence on weather, aquatic environments, biology, and taking a plunge on New Year's or any other day. Thanks to Alan Moore for lending his voice and wade-in sounds to this episode.  We close this first episode of the New Year with about 45 seconds of music to give a hydrological hello to 2022. Here's “New Year's Water,” by Torrin Hallett, a graduate student at the Yale School of Music. MUSIC - ~46 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 This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 195, 1-6-14. Thanks to Alan Moore for allowing Virginia Water Radio to record sounds during his annual New River wade-in on January 1, 2014.“New Year's Water” is copyright 2016 by Torrin Hallett, used with permission.  Thanks very much to Torrin for composing the piece especially for Virginia Water Radio.  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.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 349, 1-2-17.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 Two photos of the New River near the county line between Giles and Montgomery counties in Virginia, looking upstream: At dawn on January 1, 2014 (upper photo) and at 8:40 a.m. on January 1, 2022 (lower photo). EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT COLD WATER SAFETY The following is quoted from the National Weather Service, “Cold Water Hazards and Safety,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/coldwater. “Warm air doesn't always mean warm water in lakes, streams or oceans.  Fifty-five degree water may not sound very cold, but it can be deadly.  Plunging into cold water of any temperature becomes dangerous if you aren't prepared for what the sudden exposure can do to your body and brain.  Warm air temperatures can create a false sense of security for boaters and beach goers, so if you are planning to be on or near the water, arrive knowing the conditions and how to protect yourself.  Cold water drains body heat up to 4 times faster than cold air.  When your body hits cold water, “cold shock” can cause dramatic changes in breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.  The sudden gasp and rapid breathing alone creates a greater risk of drowning even for confident swimmers in calm waters. In rougher open water this danger increases.  Unplanned immersion in cold water can be life-threatening for anyone without protection from the temperatures or a lifejacket to help you stay afloat.  When Cold Shock and Hypothermia begin to impact your ability to think and act, life jackets and flotation can create extra time for help to arrive or for you to get out of danger.   Even the most experienced cold water surfers, swimmers or boaters know to prepare for the conditions.” SOURCES Used for Audio Encyclopedia Britannica, “Thermodynamics,” online at https://www.britannica.com/science/thermodynamics. J. J. Hidore and J. E. Oliver, Climatology—An Atmospheric Science, MacMillian, New York, 1993, pages 55-58. Linus Pauling, General Chemistry, Dover, New York, 1970, pages 343-350. On survival in cold water: National Weather Service, “Cold Water Safety,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/coldwater. University of Minnesota Sea Grant, “Hypothermia Prevention: Survival in Cold Water,” at http://www.seagrant.umn.edu/coastal_communities/hypothermia; see the site's “How Long Have I Got?” section for information on how long one can survive being immersed in cold water. For More Information about Cold Weather Safety, Hypothermia, and Frostbite National Weather Service, “Cold Weather Safety,” online at https://www.weather.gov/safety/cold. U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, “Prevent Hypothermia & Frostbite,” online at https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/staysafe/hypothermia.html. Virginia Department of Health, “Newsroom/Winter Weather Preparedness,” at https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/news/public-relations-contacts/winter-weather-preparedness/. 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 “Science” and “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject categories. Following are links to other episodes that focus on an incoming New Year. Episode 296, 12-28-15 – Setting a Course for 2016 with ‘On a Ship' by Kat Mills.Episode 349, 1-2-17 – Water for a World of New Years, Featuring “New Year's Water” by Torrin Hallett.Episode 401, 1-1-18 – Diving into 2018 with “Driving Rain” by Chamomile and Whiskey.Episode 453, 12-31-18 – Water and the New Year of 2019.Episode 505, 12-30-19 – Eyes on the Water as the 2020s Arise. Following are links to several other winter-related episodes, including episodes on some birds that reside in Virginia typically only in winter (listed separately).  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in late 2021 and early 2022; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes.Frost – Episode 597, 10-4-21.Freezing and ice – Episode 606, 12-6-21 (especially for grades K-3).Ice on ponds and lakes – Episode 404, 1-22-18 (especially for grades 4-8).Ice on rivers – Episode 406, 2-5-18 (especially for middle school grades).Polar Plunge® for Special Olympics – Episode 356, 2-20-17.Snow physics and chemistry – Episode 407, 2-12-18 (especially for high school grades). Snow, sleet, and freezing rain – Episode 461, 2-25-19.Snow terms – Episode 300, 1-25-16.Surviving freezing – Episode 556, 12-21-20.Winter precipitation and water supplies – Episode 567, 3-8-21.Winter weather preparedness – Episode 605, 11-29-21.Bird-related Episodes for Winter Audubon Society Christmas Bird Count – Episode 607, 12-13-21.American Avocet – Episode 543, 9-21-20.Brant (goose) – Episode 502, 12-9-19. Canvasback (duck) – Episode 604, 11-22-21.Common Goldeneye (duck) – Episode 303, 2/15/16.Green-winged Teal (duck) – Episode 398, 12-11-17.Grebes (Horned and Red-necked) – Episode 233, 9-29-14.Loons – Episode 445, 11-5-18.Fall migration – Episode 603, 11-15-21.Northern Harrier – Episode 561, 1-25-21.Snow Goose – Episode 507, 1/13/20. Tundra Swan – Episode 554, 12-7-20. Winter birds sampler from the Chesapeake Bay area – Episode 565, 2-22-21. 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-3 plus 5: Force, Motion, and Energy 5.2 – Energy can take many forms. Grades K-3 plus 5: Matter 5.7 – Matter has properties and interactions. Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems 4.4 – Weather conditions and climate have effects on ecosystems and can be predicted. Grade 6 6.4 – There are basic sources of energy and energy can be transformed. 6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment. Physical Science PS.5 – Energy is conserved and transformed. Chemistry CH.7 – Thermodynamics explains the relationship between matter and energy. 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 (* indicates episode listed above in the “Related Water Radio Episodes” section). 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 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school.*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.

Charlottesville Community Engagement
January 3, 2021: Livable Cville want solutions for Fifth Street Extended; Bills filed in the General Assembly to limit voting, require school resource officers

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 8:17


We are now close to perihelion, the point at which the earth is closest to the sun. There are 169 days until the summer solstice, when the northern hemisphere experiences its longest exposure to that same sun. This cosmic background may not be relevant for what you’re about to read, but these are relevant facts to your existence. Every episode of Charlottesville Community Engagement intends to deliver many more. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs.Charlottesville Community Engagement enters 2022 with a desire and hope for more subscribers. Sign up for free and decide later if you’d like to chip in!On today’s show:A check-in with Virginia’s COVID surgeIn the wake of a fatal crash on Fifth Street Extended, the advocacy group Livable Cville wants solutions A review of new bills filed for the 2022 General Assembly, including more restrictions on voting Let’s begin today with two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!COVID updateVirginia set another record for the number of new COVID cases reported on Sunday with 19,506. This morning, the Virginia Department of Health reports another 7,967 new cases and a seven-day percent positivity of 27.9 percent, or more than one in four tests. The number of deaths reported has not increased as steeply. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 139 cases and the percent positivity is 20.7 percent today. On Friday, the company Novavax filed data with the Food and Drug Administration in a bid for emergency authorization for their COVID vaccine. The European Union and the World Health Organization have both granted the emergency authorization for a vaccine that uses “recombinant nanoparticle protein-based COVID-19 vaccine with Matrix-M adjuvant.” Learn more in their press release.Today’s snow has closed the Blue Ridge Health Department as well as the Community Vaccination Center. Charlottesville City Hall remains open, as does the Albemarle county office building. However, people are urged to phone first before traveling there. The Albemarle County Fire and Rescue Department and Police Department are urging people to stay home. (Edit: City Hall announced its closure shortly after publication)As of this recording, Dominion Energy reports about a third of its customers in Charlottesville are without power and about half of customers in Albemarle are also without power. Stay up to date with their outage map.Fatal crash on Fifth Street extendedA crash in the 900 block of Fifth Street Extended late Saturday night has killed a Richmond woman, according to a report from CBS19 News. That’s prompted the group Livable Cville to call on Charlottesville City Hall to move forward with planned solutions. A series of fatalities in 2020 led to a petition drive that led to a conversation on City Council that November of that year at which traffic engineer Brennan Duncan offered several recommendations including lowering the speed limit. Livable Cities wants to know why none of them have been implemented. A useful resource is a map provided by the Virginia Department of Transportation that provides information on all crashes in the Commonwealth. Here are some of the fatalities in the data: (access the map)One person was killed and another was injured on November 22, 2016 at the intersection of Harris Road and Fifth Street Extended in an angle collision involving three vehicles. Alcohol and speed were involved in the daytime crash. Another crash at that intersection on July 18, 2020 killed another person and injured a second in an angle collision between two vehicles that took place in the daytime. Alcohol and speed were involved in the crash. A sideswipe collision at night involving three vehicles on August 30 north of Bailey Road on the southbound lanes killed the driver of a motorcycle. Speed and distracted drivers were a factor.A single-vehicle crash on October 10 at night in the northbound lane just south of the Cherry Avenue intersection killed one and injured another when the vehicle struck a tree. For other coverage:NBC 29Petition seeks changes to 5th Street to prevent further crashes, November 11, 2020Council briefed on ways to slow down Fifth Street Extended, November 17, 2020New billsThe General Assembly meets for its 2022 session in nine days with Republicans taking over control of the House of Delegates and the Democrat retaining a majority in the Senate.Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) filed legislation requiring all localities to have a school resource officer hired by a local law-enforcement agency. (HB37)Delegate Kelly K. Convirs-Fowler (D-Virginia Beach) filed a bill requiring deputies appointed by constitutional officers to be subject to the same restrictions on holding other offices. (HB38)Incoming Delegate Phillip Scott (R-Spottsylvania) filed a bill to limit absentee voting to two weeks before an election. (HB39)Scott also filed a bill to ensure that no child be required to participate in the Virginia Kindergarten Readiness program. (HB41)Delegate Anderson also filed a bill creating a new category of “improper driving” in state code. (HB42)Delegate Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) would require localities that seek to allow retail sale of marijuana to hold a referendum first. (HB43)Delegate Ware also filed a bill limiting voting rights by requiring photo-ID and ending the permanent list for absentee ballots. (HB46)Delegate Matt Fariss (R-Rustburg) filed a bill allowing localities to hold non-binding advisory referenda once a year without seeking a charter amendment or permission from the General Assembly. (HB48)Fariss also filed a bill extending Scenic River status to an additional 44 miles of the James River running through Nelson, Appomattox, and Cumberland counties. (HB49)Stealing catalytic converters would be a class six felony if another bill from Delegate Fariss were to pass and be signed into law. (HB51)More to come in the weeks ahead. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 31, 2021: Third straight day of COVID records in Virginia with over 17K new cases today; Council briefed on affordable housing funds, cancels Franklin sidewalk

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2021 16:26


This is Day 365, the final 24 hour period of 2021, and the eve of another Day 1. Today takes on many themes for many people, with some choosing reflection, some looking forward, and others simply existing. For me it’s another opportunity to write another installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a program and newsletter that seeks to bring you as much information as often as possible. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs, ready to get to it.Charlottesville Community Engagement is free to sign-up and you can decide later if you want to pay whatever you can to keep it going! On today’s program:The pandemic surge continues with three days in a row of record new cases, and Virginia’s emergency physicians want a new state of emergencyAttorney General Mark Herring has sued a small town outside Suffolk for a pattern of racial discrimination in traffic stopsCharlottesville City Council briefed on how the city’s affordable housing fund is used and agrees to cancel a sidewalk funded paid for through federal housing fundsMore new bills are filed, including a prohibition on COVID vaccine mandatesIn today’s first subscriber-supported public service announcement, Stitch Please if the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. Stitch Please centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. Weekly discussions, interviews, tips, and techniques celebrate and contextualize Black creativity. To support the program, creator Lisa Woolfolk has created a 2022 Black Women Stitch wall calendar with four fusable applique patterns based on original art by Black women artists. Visit Black Women Stitch now to purchase it today! Pandemic updateFor the third day in a row, the Virginia Department of Health has reported a record number of new COVID cases with 17,618. The percent positivity has increased to 21.5 percent. These are numbers that have not been seen at any point during the pandemic. In the Blue Ridge Health District there are 365 new cases reported, which is not a record but it’s close. The seven-day average for new positive tests is 15.2 percent. Yesterday the Virginia College of Emergency Physicians called on Governor Ralph Northam to declare a state of emergency in order to assist emergency rooms across the Commonwealth. Northam’s previous emergency expired on June 30. “Emergency departments are considered a safety net for those patients in need of care, regardless of insurance status, and are federally mandated and morally obligated to provide care to all those who seek it,” reads their press release. “However, Virginia’s emergency medicine system is under threat of collapse due to excessive patient volume.”A declaration would allow access to federal funding, allow hospitals and ER’s to enact triage protocols, and more flexibility in allocating resources. The group also wants the Virginia Department of Health to provide more testing sites. The release notes that hospitalization numbers are below the levels of the winter peak earlier this year and that the majority of patients are unvaccinated.  You can confirm that fact on the Virginia Department of Health’s website. The high number of cases are causing some to alter their plans. The IX Art Park has canceled their Studio 51 New Year’s Eve party due to staffing and safety concerns. Outgoing Attorney General sues town of WindsorWith only two weeks remaining in his second term, outgoing Attorney General Mark Herring has filed a lawsuit against the Town of Windsor for violations of the Virginia Human Rights Act and the Virginia Public Integrity and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act. The latter passed the General Assembly in 2020 and allows the attorney general to sue when evidence is gathered that a law enforcement agency is “engaging in a pattern or practice that deprives persons of rights, privileges, or immunities.”The suit filed in Isle of Wight Circuit Court argues that the town’s police department disproportionately pulls over Black drivers.“From July 1, 2020 through September 30, 2021, the Department conducted 810 traffic stops of Black drivers—representing approximately 42 percent of the stops conducted by the Department,” reads the pleading. “Consequently, the Town stopped Black drivers between 200 percent and 500 percent more often than would be expected based on the number of Black residents in the Town or Isle of Wight County.” The suit goes on to argue that Black drivers were searched more often than white drivers. It also cites an incident of December 2020 in which an officer claimed he was making a “felony stop” when he pulled over an off-duty police officer. “The Department does not have a policy on what constitutes a felony stop,” the argument continues. The suit also accuses the Town of inconsistent reporting and demands the Town adopt policies  to address the violations. Resources:Read the filing Read the Virginia Public Integrity and Law Enforcement Misconduct Act Read the Virginia Human Rights ActRead Herring’s press releaseBills filed to limit voting, prevent COVID vaccine mandates The General Assembly session begins in less than two weeks, and bills continue to be pre-filed. Incoming Delegate Tim Anderson (R-Virginia Beach) has filed a bill prohibiting COVID vaccines from being mandated and prohibiting people from being dismissed by employers for refusing to be vaccinated. (HB27)Delegate Ronnie Campbell (R-Raphine) filed a bill to add 23.2 more miles of the Maury River to be added to the state’s list of Scenic Rivers. (HB28)Another bill from Campbell would rename and reroute a position of U.S. 60 in Lexington and create a new U.S. 850 for a section of the current route. (HB31)Campbell also filed legislation to allow Bath County to be added to the list of localities that can charge a fee for disposal of solid waste. (HB32)Campbell filed another bill to require vehicles that claim to be for Farm Use to obtain a placard from the Department of Motor Vehicles, at no charge. (HB33)Campbell would also prohibit Virginia from allowing absentee ballots to be dropped off at additional locations outside of registrars’ offices. (HB34)Campbell would also end no-excuse absentee voting. (HB35)Campbell would also abolish the right to be added to a permanent list for voting absentee. (HB36)Campbell also wants to call for a Constitutional Convention to put limit the power of the federal government. (HJ3)Harambe calendarA local educator has released the latest version of a calendar to help people find out about African American cultural events in the community. Alex Zan has been producing the Harambe Family Events calendar for many years. City Councilor Sena Magill made an announcement at last week’s City Council meeting. (download the calendar)“Harambe, Swahili for ‘all pull together,’ cultural events objectives are to inspire and unify area citizens to communicate more effectively and create and maintain a positive environment for change and civility,” Magill said. The calendar can be downloaded as a .PDF and can help map out 2022. “The calendar also strives to strengthen family relationships and nurture cultural awareness, particularly among African Americans who have experienced a lack of inclusion in many area events,” Magill said.Magill said physical copies of the calendar will be distributed throughout the community. *You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement!In today’s shout-out, a shout-out to the shouters-of out! I want to thank all of the individuals and entities that have supported this newsletter and podcast through a $25 a month Patreon contribution or through some other combination of support. Thanks to:The Charlottesville Jazz SocietyCode for CharlottesvilleLEAPThe Rivanna Conservation AllianceLonnie Murray and his penchant for native plantWTJU, The Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, Jefferson Madison Regional LibraryCharlottesville Area Tree Stewards, Cville 350Piedmont Master GardenersThe Valley Research Center (may not actually exist)  *Council briefed on affordable housing fundsA firm hired to conduct an audit of the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund presented preliminary results to City Council at their final meeting of the year in the early morning of December 21. HR&A had already completed an affordable housing plan as part of the Cville Plans Together initiative but Council paid an additional $165,000 to the firm for that audit, as well as creation of a program to ensure that the upcoming rewrite of the zoning code is inclusionary. The adopted plan called for the city to spend $10 million on housing for at least ten years. The Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund was created in 2007 as one tool for the city to increase the number of subsidized housing units. No audit has ever been conducted, and the city has struggled to hold on to housing coordinators, a position which has been vacant since the summer of 2020. “We went back to records going back to 2010 and we’re talking about just shy of $47 million here, the vast majority of $38 million being local and city housing trust fund money,” said Phillip Kash of HR&A. Kash said there are three major areas funded by the CAHF. They are development of new units and rehabilitation of existing ones, programs and operations of housing nonprofits, or city administration. The main beneficiary of city funding has been Piedmont Housing Alliance, followed by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “That’s really tied to the Friendship Courts project in particular, and this really moves their position on this pretty significantly,” Kash said. The analysis also broke down how much return the city got on its investment. Rehabilitation and construction of single family homes are the most expensive per unit. New construction has been subsidized at a range between $20,000 and $45,000, with rehabilitation between $3,000 and $25,000 a unit. Kash said there are some initial lessons that can be learned. “Funding that was authorized by the city was not spent or followed up on,” Kash said. “While it was awarded, what it was awarded for was not necessarily ending up happening or wasn’t actually used. There are a couple of examples of projects being delayed or projects not being built yet. There were projects actually located outside the city. There’s a clear pattern of needing better reporting or monitoring.” A final report will be developed early next year. Recommendations will inform the next capital improvement program. Outgoing Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wants funding to go be producing housing and not to support nonprofits.“Keeping an organization afloat should not be our goal if they’re not delivering,” Walker said. “I think what ultimately once this report is finished, the community will see that we haven’t been mindful at all regarding the funds that we are allocating and we need to be more mindful.” Council cancels CDBG-funded sidewalk on Franklin StreetIn their final item of the year, Council agreed to cancel a project to build a sidewalk on Franklin Street using federal funds that come through the Community Development Block Grant process. The project had been selected by a task force but was defunded earlier this year because it could not be completed by a federal deadline. Deputy City Manager Sam Sanders recommended Council consider moving away from the task force model. “Routinely, a task force model doesn’t necessarily help to meet the regulatory conditions because typically what you’re doing is simply allowing community members to pick projects and they don’t necessarily always know the details that go into executing,” Sanders said. In 2017, the city selected the Belmont neighborhood to be the recipient of CDBG funds and a task force recommended $204,263 funding go toward the Franklin Street sidewalk. This spring, staff said they would seek to reallocate funds back to the project, but Sanders had concerns it would once again not be completed in time to meet a May 2022 deadline. “Engineering complications exist today in order for us to be able to move forward,” Sanders said. “The reality is it should not have been selected.” Sanders, who has only been with the city since August, said the process is flawed. In addition, Sanders said this project did little to address low-income residents. Council agreed to cancel the project. Sanders will return with an update to the city’s ordinance to eliminate the task force’s role in favor of a staff advisory body that would seek input from the Planning Commission and Council. Resources:Minutes of the Belmont CDBG Task Force, November 7, 2018Minutes of the Belmont CDBG Task Force, February 12, 2019CDBG-funded Franklin Street sidewalk to be delayed, February 22, 2021An update on Franklin Street sidewalk, April 19, 2021Year in Review relegated to TwitterThis has been a very busy year for Town Crier Productions with 163 newsletter, 51 Weeks Ahead, and a whole lot of reporting and research. I had intended to create a Year In Review, but 2022 is going to begin with a bang so my concentration is going there.However, I am continuing to do a Year in Review on the cvilletowncrier account on Twitter. If you want to review the year, take a look there. After about 16 hours of work reviewing previous installments of this newsletter, I’ve only gotten as far as March. So, take a look there, and please retweet and like and share. Thanks for all of your support this year, and let’s see what 2022 brings us. Stay safe! Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 609 (12-27-21): A Year of Water Sounds and Music – 2021 Edition

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:31).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 12-24-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 27, 2021.  SOUND - ~ 5 sec That's the sound of a Belted Kingfisher at Stroubles Creek in Blacksburg, Va., on December 21, 2021.  The year-end chattering of Virginia Water Radio's favorite bird sets the stage for our annual look-back on Water Radio's year.  We start with a medley of mystery sounds and voices from six episodes in 2021.  Have a listen for about 40 seconds, and see how many you recognize. SOUNDS – ~38 sec If you guessed all of most of those, you're a water-sound world champion! You heard Brimley's Chorus Frog;Virginia Tech graduate Maddy Grupper discussing her research on public trust in water systems;Virginia Tech's siren used for tornado warnings;names of some 2021 Atlantic tropical cyclones;Canvasback ducks; andice on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County, Va. Thanks to the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources for permission to use the chorus frog sound; to Lang Elliott for the Canvasback sounds, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs; to Maddy Grupper for the episode on her research; and to Blacksburg friends for the tropical cyclone name call-outs. We close out 2021 with a two-minute sample of music heard in episodes this year.  Here are excerpts of “Wade in the Water,” by Torrin Hallett; “Racing the Sun,” by the Faux Paws; “All Creatures Were Meant to Be Free,” by Bob Gramann; “John Ashe's Spring,” by New Standard; “The Coming Spring,” by Andrew VanNorstand with vocalist Kailyn Wright; and “On a Ship,” by Kat Mills, with violinist Rachel Handman. Thanks to those musicians for permission to use their music. So long, soon, to 2021, and here's hoping for a safe, sound, and sufficiently hydrated 2022. MUSIC – ~105 sec From “Wade in the Water” - ~18 sec – instrumental. From “Racing the Sun” - ~20 sec – instrumental. From “All Creatures Were Meant to be Free” - ~10 sec – instrumental. From “John Ashe's Spring” - ~13 sec – instrumental. From “The Coming Spring” - ~20 sec – Lyrics: “I went outside, the rain fallin' on the branches bare.   And I smiled, ‘cause I could feel a change in the air.” From “On a Ship” - ~25 sec – Lyrics: “We are riding on a ship.” 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 Sounds Used and Their Previous 2021 Virginia Water Radio Episodes (Listed in order heard in this episode's audio) The Belted Kingfisher sound was recorded by Virginia Water Radio at Stroubles Creek in Blacksburg, Va., December 21, 2021. The sound of Brimley's Chorus Frog was from “The Calls of Virginia Frogs and Toads” CD, copyright 2008 by the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries (now the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources) and Lang Elliott/NatureSoundStudio, used with permission.   The CD accompanies A Guide to the Frogs and Toads of Virginia, Special Publication Number 3, Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries; as of February 5, 2021, that publication is no longer available at Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources online store, https://www.shopdwr.com/.  For more information, contact the Department at P.O. Box 90778, Henrico, VA 23228-0778; phone: (804) 367-1000 (VTDD); main Web page is https://dwr.virginia.gov/; to send e-mail, visit https://dwr.virginia.gov/contact/.  This sound was used in Episode 563, 2-8-21. Virginia Tech 2020 graduate Maddy Grupper discussed her research on public trust in water systems in Episode 564, 2-15-21. The tornado-warning siren was recorded in Blacksburg, Va., in the early morning of April 28, 2011.  This sound was used in Episode 568, 3-15-21. The call-out of Atlantic tropical cyclone names for the 2021 season were recorded by Blacksburg friends of Virginia Water radio in June 2021.  The voices were sued in Episode 580, 6-7-21. The sounds of Canvasback ducks were sound were 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.  Lang Elliot's work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site, online at https://musicofnature.com/.  These sounds were used in Episode 604, 11-22-21. The Claytor Lake ice sound was recorded at the Sloan Creek inlet of the lake, near Draper in Pulaski County, Va., on January 6, 2018. This sound was used in Episode 606, 12-6-21. Musical Selections Used and Their Previous 2021 Virginia Water Radio Episodes (Listed in order heard in this episode's audio) The arrangement of “Wade in the Water” (a traditional hymn) heard in this episode is copyright 2021 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 this arrangement especially for Virginia Water Radio.  This music was used in Episode 566, 3-1-21, water in U.S. civil rights history. “Racing the Sun,” from the 2021 album “The Faux Paws,” is copyright by Great Bear Records, used with permission of Andrew VanNorstrand.  More information about The Faux Paws is available online at https://thefauxpawsmusic.com/.  More information about Great Bear Records is available online at https://www.greatbearmusic.com/.  This music was used in Episode 602, 11-8-21, on photosynthesis, including its connection to climate change. “All Creatures Were Meant to Be Free,” from the 1995 album “Mostly True Songs,” is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  More information about Bob Gramann is available online at https://www.bobgramann.com/.  This music was used in Episode 561, 1-25-21, on the Northern Harrier. “John Ashe's Spring,” from the 2016 album “Bluegrass,” is copyright by New Standard, used with permission.  The title refers to a spring near Ivy, Virginia (Albemarle County).  More information about New Standard is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.  This music was used in Episode 576, 5-10-21, an introduction to springs. “The Coming Spring,” 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://www.andrewvannorstrand.com/.  Information on accompanying artists on “The Coming Spring” is online at https://andrewvannorstrandmusic.bandcamp.com/track/the-coming-spring.  This music was used in Episode 572, 4-12-21, on warblers and spring bird migration. “On a Ship,” from the 2015 album “Silver,” is copyright by Kat Mills, used with permission.  Accompanying artists on the song are Ida Polys, vocals; Rachel Handman, violin; and Nicholas Polys, banjo.   More information about Kat Mills is available online at http://www.katmills.com/.  This music was used in Episode 602, 11-8-21, on photosynthesis, including its connection to climate change. IMAGESAn Image Sampler from Episodes in 2021 From Episode 561, 1-25-21: Northern Harrier, photographed in southeastern Virginia, January 23, 2021.  Photo by iNaturalist user keyojimbo, made available online at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/68521040(as of 12-27-21) for use under Creative Commons license “Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0.”  Information about this Creative Commons license is available online at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.From Episode 563, 2-8-21: Brimley's Chorus Frog, photographed in Chesapeake, Virginia, February 28, 2019.  Photo by iNaturalist user jkleopfer, made available online at https://www.inaturalist.org/observations/20834796(as of 2-8-21) for use under Creative Commons license “Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0.”  Information about this Creative Commons license is available online at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/.From Episode 580, 6-7-21: Predictions for the 2021 Atlantic tropical storm season.  Graphic from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “NOAA Predicts Another Active Atlantic Hurricane Season,” 5/20/21, online at https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/noaa-predicts-another-active-atlantic-hurricane-season.From Episode 602, 11-8-21: Diagram explaining carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake by trees and other woody plants during photosynthesis, resulting in carbon storage, or “carbon sequestration,” a key concept in the issue of climate change.  Diagram courtesy of John Seiler, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.From Episode 606, 12-6-21: Thin ice on a pond in Heritage Park, Blacksburg, Va., December 9, 2021.SOURCES Please see the episodes mentioned and hyperlinked above under “Audio Notes and Acknowledgments” for sources of information about the topics of the individual episodes. 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 “Overall Importance o

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Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 27, 2021: Groups sue Charlottesville to stop Jefferson School Center from receiving Lee statue; Charlottesville planning for resilience with RGGI funds

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 10:43


The final week of 2021 begins with a slight pause on government meetings at the local and state level, but there’s always something to document in every edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. What phrase would you use to describe the week between Christmas and New Year’s? Boxing Week? Witching Week? Charlottesville Community Engagement is looking for a few more subscribers, each and every day! Sign up for free and decide later how you might want to contribute! On today’s program:A lawsuit has been filed to stop a Confederate statue from being given to the Jefferson School Center for African American HeritageScottsville and Charlottesville have both received additional funding from a cap and trade program to pay for flood programs The Nelson County Board of Supervisors hires a consultant to help update the Comprehensive PlanAlbemarle County offering seven drop-off locations for Christmas tree recyclingIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out:Winter is here, and now is the time to think about keeping your family warm through the cold Virginia months. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!Pandemic updateAs the week begins, the Virginia Department of Health reports the seven-day average for positive tests has climbed to 14.5 percent this morning and a seven-day average of 6,307 new cases. On Christmas Day, the VDH reported 8,609 new cases and 5,432 cases on Boxing Day. More on the pandemic tomorrow. Statue lawsuitTwo organizations that bid to receive the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee have filed suit in Charlottesville Circuit Court to prevent it from being awarded to the Jefferson School Center for African American Heritage. The center plans to melt the statue down and made into a new public work of art. The petition for injunction filed December 22 on behalf of the Trevillian Station Battlefield Foundation and the Ratcliffe Foundation argues that City Council overstepped its authority when it voted 4-0 in the early hours of December 7 to choose the center. “The City can legally remove, relocate, contextualize, or cover the Lee monument, but the General Assembly denied the City authority to alter or destroy,” reads the argument, which also names the center as a defendant. “A foundry is not a museum, historical society, government, or military battlefield, which are the only lawful recipients for placement of a relocated monument.”The plaintiffs seek voidance of the award and to prevent the Center from submitting another one. Alternatively they seek damages or restoration of the statue. The suit claims the city broke the Freedom of Information Act and its own procurement rules. (read the petition here)The 2020 General Assembly passed legislation allowing localities to decide for themselves if they wanted to remove war memorials, which had been protected by state law. The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in April that that state law did not apply to either the Lee statue or another Confederate statue that formerly stood in a city park. (April 1, 2021 opinion in City of Charlottesville v. Payne)Belmont Bridge updateCrews working on the replacement of the Belmont Bridge will take a break today, Thursday and Friday. The Caton Construction Group has been working on removing the eastern span of the bridge, but will take some time off for the holiday, according to a press release from the city. However, work on a waterline between East South Street and Old Avon Street will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The work began this past summer after several years of planning and after Council agreed to spend $7.5 million in capital improvement funds to make up a cost over-run. Learn more at the project website at belmont-bridge.com. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Nelson County Comprehensive PlanFans of Comprehensive Plan reviews can rejoice now that Nelson County has hired the Berkley Group of Bridgewater to conduct the first update of their plan since 2014. Dylan Bishop is the county’s director of planning and zoning. They’ll be paid $160,000 for the work. “When I first accepted this position two and a half years ago, I was aware that the Comprehensive Plan update was on the horizon,” Bishop said. “Over the last couple of years there have been a few roadblocks with that but it’s also given me a good opportunity to become familiar with the current Comprehensive Plan, zoning ordinance, and subdivision ordinances.”The current plan was written by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission with an entity at the University of Virginia known as the Design Resources Center. (read the 2014 update)Bishop said the current plan does not lead the county’s land use and development decisions, and that that occurs now in the zoning ordinance.“When it’s done correctly, it should be an economic development tool,” Bishop said. “It’s often used as reference for grant applications such as Smart Scale, Virginia Outdoors Foundation grants, when you have something to point to that says our county already supports this.” Nelson County sent out a request for proposals this fall and receive three submissions. Two of the firms were interviewed and staff chose the Berkley Group. Public engagement will begin with a meeting in January.  “Once the final plan is adopted, they will follow it up with another diagnostic of the zoning ordinance and subdivision ordinances,” Bishop said. “They’ll generate recommendations that will make it consistent with our Comprehensive Plan. That will be the enforcement tool to set the vision of the comp plan as the years go on.” The Berkley Group is currently working on the Comprehensive Plan updates in Richmond County and Greensville County. They’ve recently concluded work in Northampton County and the city of Lexington. (Watch the Nelson BOS meeting)Charlottesville, Scottsville, receive flood-prevention funds Governor Ralph Northam has awarded an additional $24.5 million to help Virginia localities prepare for weather events associated with a changing climate. The money comes from Virginia’s proceeds from participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, which Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has said he would end through an executive order after he takes office. In the meantime in this round, Charlottesville will receive $94,276 for “resilience planning and staff training” and the town of Scottsville will receive $123,346 for a planning study. Both communities were among 30 applicants for the second round of the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. In October, Charlottesville was awarded $153,500 in the first round for a project to create a two-dimensional model for the Moores Creek watershed. (Charlottesville awarded $153K for flood study from RGGI funds, October 6, 2021)Virginia became the first southern state to join RGGI in 2020 and has received $227,636,583.52 in the four auctions it has been a part of so far. Utility generators have to purchase credits to exceed a certain threshold of carbon emissions. Forty-five percent of the proceeds go to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. According to their application, the city will put the money towards a Charlottesville Resilience Plan that will include taking an inventory of existing plans, identifying hazards and threats, and assessing vulnerabilities. “The City is applying for these grant funds to contract with an expert consultant to facilitate planDevelopment,” reads the application. “The consultant will co-create the plan at facilitated workshops with the City’s Resilience Team staff to increase staff expertise and capabilities.” The schedule anticipates the plan will be ready in mid-April. Scottsville will use the plan to develop to modernize its plans for dealing with floods. According to the application, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers completed a levee project in 1988 after a series of devastating floods in the mid-20th century.“This project connects to the town’s history and its future, assuring the continued safety from flooding, and laying the groundwork for new economic development,” reads the project narrative. The document goes on to state the town would like the Federal Emergency Management Agency to adjust the floodplain map to remove the designation for the former Kyosung tire factory in order to make it more attractive to redevelopment. They also want a new hydraulic model for downtown Scottsville. The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation will need to approve both documents. Resources:Charlottesville’s applicationScottsville’s applicationFull list of recipients on the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation’s webpageAlbemarle tree recyclingBeginning today, Albemarle’s Parks and Recreation Department will operate seven places where county residents can drop off Christmas trees for recycling. People are asked to remove all decorations, lights, stands, and nails before they are added to the pile. The trees will be chipped and converted into mulch. That mulch will be available beginning January 24 at both Darden Towe Park and Claudius Crozet Park. The locations:McIntire Recycling Center* – 611 McIntire Rd. Charlottesville, VA 22902Claudius Crozet Park – 1075 Claudius Crozet Park, Crozet, VA 22932Greenwood Community Center – 865 Greenwood Rd. Crozet, VA 22932Chris Greene Lake Park – 4460 Chris Greene Lake Rd. Charlottesville, VA 22911Darden Towe Park – 1445 Darden Towe Park, Charlottesville, VA 22911Scottsville Community Center – 250 Page St. Scottsville, Va 24590Walnut Creek Park – 4250 Walnut Creek Park North Garden, VA 22959Community members are asked not to bring any other yard waste, and are warned that the McIntire Recycling Center may be congested. Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 24, 2021: VDH reports second-highest one-day COVID case count so far; Danville approves sales-tax increase for education

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2021 11:51


‘Tis the day before Christmas, and all through the town, there may or may not be stirring. I don’t know. I’m not there and away for a family holiday. But there’s too much information to not put out an installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, no matter where I am. The “I” in that last sentence is Sean Tubbs, who conveniently happens to be me. He and I are the co-hosts in this and every installment of the program. Thanks for listening. On today’s program: It’s unfortunately beginning to look a lot like an omicron Christmas, with this season’s COVID surge on track to surpass last year’sDanville City Council adopts a one-cent sales tax increase to pay for school renovationsMore new bills are filed for the next General Assembly including…In today’s shout-out, a shout-out to the shouters-of out! I want to thank all of the individuals and entities that have supported this newsletter and podcast through a $25 a month Patreon contribution or through some other combination of support. Thanks to the Charlottesville Jazz Society, Code for Charlottesville, LEAP, the Rivanna Conservation Alliance, Lonnie Murray and his penchant for native plants, WTJU, the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, Cville 350, Piedmont Master Gardeners, and of course, the Valley Research Center. More in 2022Pandemic updateOn the day before Christmas, the Virginia Department of Health reports its second highest total of new COVID cases since the pandemic began with 8,756 cases. The percent positivity rate has increased to 11.3 percent. In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are 170 new cases and another four deaths have been reported since Wednesday. Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System, is not surprised by the surge.“Importantly what we’re also seeing in certain parts of the state like Alexandria and Arlington, they’re seeing their highest ever one-day totals,”For Alexandria, that meant 316 cases reported on Thursday and 310 cases reported today. Arlington set a one-day total today with 592, surpassing yesterday’s previous one-day record at 359. Richmond also set a one day of 346 today. Rural communities across Virginia are not yet seeing the same spike. “We’re seeing a rapid ascent in terms of total number of cases,” said Dr. Sifri. “This is being seen around the country in a lot of different locations and I think that we should anticipate that we’re going to continue to see this rapid rise, this sort of steep wall of COVID and it appears to be driven by Omicron across most of the state.” Dr. Sifri said researchers are learning more about the variant every day but it appears that cases are not translating into increased hospitalizations, but only time will tell if the size of the wave will still overpower Virginia’s hospitals. He added the UVA Health System had already been recovering from a slight surge from the Delta variant. “I think one of the biggest questions that sort of remains is how well does vaccination and then booster vaccination protect against Omicron,” Dr. Sifri said. “We are learning in the early reports that the two-dose mRNA vaccine does not provide as much protection as we’d like to see. Probably only around 40 percent based on some U.K. early estimates. And then a booster does improve that to around 70 or 75 percent depending on the type of vaccine that you received. Again, those are early data from the United Kingdom. It would be nice and important to see what does that mean here in the United States.”Dr. Sifri strongly recommends everyone get a booster given the unknowns. As of Thursday, 67.2 percent of the total Virginia population is fully vaccinated, but only 1.8 million have received a booster or a third dose. According to the Virginia Department of Health, unvaccinated individuals develop COVID at a rate of 4.1 times of fully vaccinated people, based on data through December 18. “In terms of what we see with people that are hospitalized it is still by and large still to this date people who have not been vaccinated,” Dr. Sifri said. “That is the largest portion of people that are hospitalized with COVID. When we’re taking care of a patient, when they’re in front us we really don’t know if it’s due to Delta or Omicron. We only can collect that information as its reported through our public health agencies.”Dr. Sifri said the situation with Omicron is still fast-moving and more information is needed to tell a complete picture. He said anyone who had COVID before vaccines became available is still potentially vulnerable. “Omicron is different enough that we are concerned that protection is incomplete and we certainly know from other variants and prior studies that the level of protection after so-called natural infection is not as robust as that that is afforded by a vaccination,” Dr. Sifri said.To get a booster or a vaccine, visit vaccinate.virginia.gov. Danville adopts sales-tax increaseIn the upcoming session of the Virginia General Assembly, the city of Charlottesville will seek permission to hold a referendum on a one-cent sales tax increase. That’s the path Danville took in 2020 when they and several other Southside communities petitioned the 2020 General Assembly to the list of “qualifying localities” that could have such a ballot initiative. In November, Danville citizens voted 7,515 to 4,921 in favor of levying the tax.On Tuesday, the seven-member Danville City Council voted unanimously to levy the tax, which will expire at the end of May of 2041. Vice Mayor Gary Miller had this observation before the vote. G.W. is George Washington High School. “Today I had a patient in and her daughter was a proud member of the 1965 GW Women’s Championship basketball team, the last time they won the state championship,” Miller said. “She said she was dismayed. She’d been to GW, that’s where she graduated, and she said how dismal the schools was and she didn’t think it was conducive to learning. And I was just happy to assure her that with the passage of this referendum and the sales tax, that school’s going to look like a different school in just few years and you wouldn’t be able to recognize it.”So far, there’s no pre-filed legislation for Charlottesville to be added to the list of qualifying localities. New 2022 General Assembly billsSeveral new bills were filed on Wednesday. Senator Travis Hackworth (R-Richlands) has introduced a bill eliminating a requirement that local school boards adopt policies regarding the treatment of transgendered students. (SB20)Senator Mamie Locke (D-Hampton) has filed a bill calling for a Constitutional amendment granting the right for people convicted of felons to be able to vote upon release. (SB21)Locke also filed legislation to increase the membership of the American Revolution 250 Commission add four legislators to total of 26 people. (SB22)Another bill from Locke would allow cities with African American cemeteries to be added to the list of entities that can receive state funds to care for them (SB23)Locke’s fourth bill submitted on 12/22 would extend the expiration date of the Eviction Diversion Program one year to July 1, 2024. (SB24)Senator Frank Ruff (R-Clarksville) introduced a bill relating to the cigarette tax that counties can now levy. Businesses that have existing inventory purchased before imposition of the tax could pay the tax without having it stamped or metered. (SB25)Ruff’s second bill would remove a sunset date for a sales tax exemption for the sale of gold, silver, and platinum bullion, as well as legal tender coins. (SB26)Ruff’s third bill would expand the availability of the Neighborhood Assistance Program and the Education Improvement Scholarships Tax Credit program (SB27)Chickahominy PipelineThe state agency that regulates the power generation and the transmission of fuel has ruled that an entity that wants to build an 83-mile natural gas pipeline across several Central Virginia is a public utility. That means the Chickahominy Pipeline must be approved by the State Corporation Commission. The company that wants to build it argued they were merely transporting the gas and not selling it. “The Commission agreed that the pipeline company will own and operate a facility through which natural gas will be sold and used for the purpose of heat, light or power,” reads a press release. “Thus, a certificate of public convenience and necessity is required before constructing facilities for use in public utility service.”According to the release, Chickahominy Pipeline intends to connect with an existing natural gas pipeline. Read the full order here.This is Charlottesville Community Engagement and I want to continue the mixed-up holiday by giving thanks to the Piedmont Environmental Council for their support of the Week Ahead newsletter. For 71 weeks now, PEC has sponsored the creation of each Sunday’s look at what’s coming up in local government. I also want to give thanks to Ting for their matching of Substack payments. Creating a community newsletter that seeks to cover as much ground as this one takes a lot of work, and I’m grateful to everyone’s support. Now, let’s get back to the show! Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 22, 2021: Council seeks floodplain info before Nassau Street rezoning vote; Today is highest one-day COVID count since late January

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 19:37


There are days in the past and days in the future, but there’s only one day at a time. This edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement is specifically tied to December 22, 2021, a particular 24-hour period filled with equal parts anticipation, dread, potential, and other pensive emotions as the holiday of Christmas approaches. Stay safe! Charlottesville Community Engagement is free to read or listen to and it’s my hope that you’ll sign-up. In today’s edition:Governor-elect Youngkin appoints a veteran banker to serve as his finance secretaryA trade publication names Virginia as having the best business climate in the nationA bridge in western Albemarle is shut down before repairs begin A study is underway on where to locate a train station in the New River ValleyCharlottesville City Council holds first reading on the use of a $5.5 million surplus, defers action on Lewis, Clark and Sacagewea statue and a rezoning on Nassau Street Today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. COVID updateThe Virginia Department of Health reports another 5,972 new cases of COVID-19 today, and the percent positivity for PCR has risen to ten percent. Today’s case number is the highest it’s been since the last week of January. The highest one day total of the pandemic to date is 9,914 recorded on January 17. On this day a year ago, there were 3,591 cases reported. A hundred and nine of today’s cases are in the Blue Ridge Health District. Virginia reports another 50 COVID deaths today, with one of those in the Blue Ridge Health District. The University of Virginia will require students, faculty, and staff to receive booster shots in order to be on Grounds next semester. According to a page on the Human Resources website, faculty and staff must get the shot by February 1 if they are eligible. If not, they must demonstrate proof of a shot 30 days after eligibility. Students must upload their proof by February 1. Visit that website for more information. Bridge closureA small bridge in western Albemarle County that carries about 560 vehicles a day has been closed due to significant deterioration. Engineers with the Virginia Department of Transportation have been inspecting the bridge on Burch’s Creek Road across Stockton Creek due to known concerns and have decided to close the road until repairs are made. “VDOT bridge inspectors determined today that its condition was not safe for continued use,” reads the statement. “During the closure, traffic should detour around the bridge from U.S. 250 to Route 824 (Patterson Mill Lane) to Route 688 (Midway Road) and back to Route 689.” Repairs will take place between now and January 7 when the bridge is expected to reopen. Virginia business awardA trade publication that writes about economic development and site selection has named Virginia one of its states of the year. Business Facilities named Virginia, Tennessee, and Massachusetts in their annual contest. Specifically, Virginia was named the Overall Business Climate. Massachusetts was honored with Best Workforce / Educational System. Tennessee was given the Best Dealmaking award. A press release in advance of their next publication states that Virginia was selected “because of the steps many economic development councils in the commonwealth, both local and statewide, are taking to make the area more attractive.” The release cites the state’s low unemployment rate, successful workforce development programs such as the Virginia Talent Acquisition Program and Fast Forward Virginia. According to an article on Virginia Business, Virginia last won this award in 2018. New Finance SecretaryFor the third day in a row, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin has named a member of his cabinet. Stephen Emery Cummings will be the next Secretary of Finance. Cummings is a veteran of several financial institutions, including a tenure as global head of corporate and investment banking at Wachovia. According to a release, he has recently served as the President and CEO of Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. “Steve shares my vision of respecting Virginians’ hard-earned tax dollars and ensuring the Commonwealth’s budget is managed effectively and efficiently, and he has the skill set and leadership qualities that our team needs to make Virginia the best place to live, work, and raise a family,” said Youngkin said in a statement. Yesterday Youngkin announced Caren Merrick will serve as Secretary of Commerce and Trade. Several outlets report that Youngkin founded the nonprofit Virginia Ready Initiative that Merrick  has run since it was formed last summer during the pandemic. On Monday, data consultant Aimee Rogstad Guidera was named Education Secretary. Inauguration Day is January 15.NRV Train StationThe Virginia Passenger Rail Authority has launched a website for a feasibility study for where to locate a train station to serve the New River Valley. Earlier this year, outgoing Governor Ralph Northam announced an agreement with Norfolk Southern to extend passenger service from Roanoke to the valley for the first time since 1979. The state of Virginia will purchase 28.5 miles of track from Norfolk Southern. The feasibility study is examining four locations. A community meeting will be held sometime this winter and an initial survey is available. Go back and listen to the May 6, 2021 installment of this newsletter and podcast to hear a segment from when Northam signed legislation authorizing an authority to raise funds for the future station. (May 6, 2021: Green Business Alliance forms to advance emissions reductions; Northam signs legislation for New River Valley train station)There’s also another study underway to determine if Amtrak service should stop in Bedford. That town is between Roanoke and Lynchburg and on the route of the Northeast Regional service that will eventually be expanded to the New River Valley. You can go back and listen to that, too. (October 30, 2021: DRPT report states Bedford train stop won’t delay freight; a briefing on the hotel industry in Albemarle/Charlottesville)In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign  an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!Public hearing held for FY21 surplus, transfers Council has held the first of two readings and a public hearing on a mandated review of the city’s budget for fiscal year for 2021, which ended on June 30 of this year. There’s a $5.5 million surplus as well as a $6.7 million reserve fund of cash set aside for COVID. The latter was not tapped. Christopher Cullinan is the city’s Finance Director. “The audit has been completed and to close out the city’s financial records for fiscal year 2021, several year-end adjustments require City Council action,” Cullinan said. “These adjustments are to carry over unspent funds from the last fiscal year to the current fiscal year.” Cullinan said one the two main recommendations are to put the COVID reserve into the city’s Capital Improvement Program contingency fund. The other is to put the $5.5 million toward employee compensation. That includes both a bonus and an across-the-board salary increase of six percent for all employees with benefits. “This is a market adjustment that recognizes the need for the city to retain and recruit qualified employees,” Cullinan said. This would happen before the results of a study on compensation is completed. Ashley Marshall is one of two deputy city managers currently running the city. “But what we do know is that the six percent is inadequate to raise us up to where we should be for equitable and appropriate pay,” Marshall said. “So we know that we’re not going to find out later on nine months from now that six percent was too much. That’s not going to be the answer.” Five people spoke at the public hearing.“I just want to say that I would like to see a lot of this money, a good portion of it, be used toward the affordable housing fund to shore that up and get that going toward the goal you indicated previously that you’d like to have ten million dollars [a year],” said Mark Kavit. Both Kimber Hawkey, Martha Smytha and Tanesha Hudson agreed with that position, and said the city should spend money for housing on more than just Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. “I think that there’s things the city could also do with purchasing land space and building things themselves as well,” Hudson said. “That’s something that they need to work towards.” Hudson said the cost of living adjustment should also extend to hourly employees as well. Rosia Parker, a newly appointed member of the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority, said more of the funding should go to affordable housing, especially for programs to address homeless. “There are a lot of homeless people that are out here,” Parker said. “You see them when you sit in front of City Hall. You see them as you walk up and down the mall. You see them as you drive up and down the different corridors of Charlottesville. Homelessness is a very threatening danger to people’s lives. Mentally, physically and emotionally.” Capital discussionAfter the hearing was closed, outgoing Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she wanted the $6.7 million to be used for a different purpose than putting it in the CIP contingency fund. The next Council will decide how that funding would be used, but Walker will not get a vote. “If we just simply transfer it to the CIP and then we have those asks that are just presented to Council randomly based on whatever’s on the funded or what makes it from the unfunded to the funded list, I don’t think that serves us,” Walker said. Vice Mayor Sena Magill supported the transfer to the CIP due to a long list of capital needs. “Because if we don’t work on some of the basic infrastructure needs of our city as well,” Magill said “That’s where we pay for a lot of the affordable grants is through the CIP and we’re looking at $75 million for just one school.” Cullinan said the idea of a contingency fund is to be ready for unforeseen events or cost over-runs.“I think the the critical thing is that it gives you choices and its cash which is easily accessible and you can make fairly quick decisions as opposed to a bond issue which takes time and effort,” Cullinan said. Council would have to approve any use funds from the CIP contingency. The second reading will be held at the next City Council meeting on January 3. Nassau Street rezoningA proposal to rezone land on the eastern half of Nassau Street in the Belmont neighborhood did not move forward on Monday. Developer Nicole Scro and engineer Justin Shimp are seeking a rezoning from R-2 to R-3 on about a half acre of land. Several members of the public asked Council to deny the request due to the property being located within a floodplain as governed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Magill said she wanted more information from staff about the issue. “I am concerned about the floodplain issue and I am concerned about the design that is being submitted in a flood plain,” Magill said Several other buildings have been constructed on that side of the street in recent years including structures built by the Piedmont Community Land Trust. That project received $240,000 in funding from the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund. City Councilor Lloyd Snook also said he wanted more information about the floodplain. “We’re not required to act on this tonight,” Snook said. “I would like to defer it and ask the staff to give us real feedback on what the flood danger is. The one thing I don’t want to do is end up saying we’re going to put in affordable housing but we’re going to put it in the floodplain.”In recent years, Shimp successfully petitioned FEMA to lower the elevations shown in the floodplain map by four feet. Tony Edwards is a development services manager in the city’s public works department. The foundation must be above the where FEMA establishes the 100-year floodplain. “This is the basis that we need to use because we follow the same methodology that FEMA provides and this is what’s been approved through FEMA,” Edwards said. James Freas, the city’s director of neighborhood development services, also weighed in.“We know the flood plain legally has been defined where it is now based on the amended flood maps in the process that Mr. Edwards described,” Freas said. “So that’s legally the location of the floodplain and defines the elevation at which the building has to be built. In terms of what can happen in an actual flood? We can be less clear about that. That’s less predictable.” Freas said the question before Council was the appropriate density at the location. By-right structures could be built. One in the 900 block constructed in 2018 is built on stilts to raise it out of the floodplain. Snook wanted more information.“I’d like to have more expertise than I can bring to bear and take a look at it and tell me whether I’m all wet,” Snook said. “Pardon the expression.” Shimp said any further review would prove his assertion that building in the location would be safe. The item will be deferred until the second council meeting in January. Outgoing Mayor Nikuyah Walker said she would have voted against the request. Lewis, Clark, and Sacagawea statue decision deferredCouncil spent nearly an hour and a half discussing the terms on how a statue removed from West Main Street will be treated in the future. Several parties agree that the Lewis and Clark Exploratory Center should receive the statue for its continued display at their location in Darden Towe Park. However, details about how the story of Sacagawea’s involvement were not resolved during the conversation. Center officials and descendants of Sacagawea will continue negotiations. “We are definitely willing to do that,” said Alexandria Searls, the center’s director. “We are invested and no matter what, even without the statue, we want relationships with them. The relationships are more important than the statue. We’re willing to walk from the statue if we have to.” The hiring of the Robert Bobb Group to run the cityAs mentioned at the top of yesterday’s newsletter, Council has hired the Robert Bobb Group to perform the functions of the city manager. Council spent their closed session negotiating with the two firms that responded. Lisa Robertson is the city attorney. “The fact that using an outside firm on a contract basis to provide these types of services, while it’s not the normal manner in which the services are delivered, it’s not unheard of,” Robertson said. “This type of contract has been used on occasion in other places including other places in Virginia.” The contract still has to be finalized after being written up. There was no little discussion of the merits of either proposal. In the resolution, Councilor Hill said “the firm made the best proposal and offer” with regards to price and quality. Walker abstained based on a sense that Council should not vote to award the contract until it is written. Update!According to City Council Clerk Kyna Thomas, Council will not need to vote on the contract as it can be signed by the Mayor. However, Council will interview specific individuals that will be suggested by the firm. There is no public knowledge yet about how much the Robert Bobb Group will be paid. Here are some other news articles about other work the firm has done:Robert Bobb back in business with new venture, Washington Business Journal, December 9, 2011Robert Bobb Group outlines goals for Petersburg, WRIC, October 26, 2016Cash-strapped Petersburg spent about $1 million on turnaround services from Bobb Group, forensic audit, Richmond Times-Dispatch, October 4, 2017 Durham leader calls criticism of consultant a lynching, a charge with political history, Raleigh News and Observer, North Carolina, March 10, 2021Black community questions motives behind some Durham commissioners rejection of minority-owned firm proposal, ABC 11, March 25, 2021Firm being paid $16K a month to provide city with financial services, Rocky Mount Telegram, North Carolina, August 13, 2021Charlottesville hires firm to perform interim city manager duties, Walker and Hill bid farewell, Daily Progress, December 21, 2021Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 608 (12-20-21): Virginia's Coastal Resilience Planning Moves Forward in December 2021

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:18).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 12-17-21.TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 20, 2021. MUSIC – ~14 sec - - Lyrics: “When the rains come, when the rains come, is it gonna be a new day?” That's part of “Rains Come,” by the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Va.-based band The Steel Wheels, from their 2019 album “Over the Trees.”  It opens an update of a previous episode on the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan—an effort to prepare for and adapt to sea-level rise, recurrent flooding, and impacts of climate change.  As in the earlier episode, we set the stage with part of “Cypress Canoe,” by Bob Gramann of Fredericksburg, Va., from his 2019 album “I Made It Just for You.”  The song's a commentary on the current and potential impacts of sea-level rise, and in the part you'll hear, the story-teller bemoans a lack of planning and action to avoid or reduce such impacts. Have a listen for about 20 seconds. MUSIC – ~18 sec – Lyrics: “Half of a city awash in the tides; when I think of what happened, it tears my insides. Oh, we could've been smarter, we could've have planned, but the world caught a fever, infected by man.” Facing current and predicted impacts to coastal areas from sea-level rise and recurrent flooding, Virginia has started planning.   On December 7, 2021, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam announced completion of Phase One of the Coastal Resilience Master Plan.  Work on the plan started about four years ago accelerated after the November 2020 release of a planning framework identifying guiding principles and specific steps to complete the plan.  Since then, a technical study, the work of a technical advisory committee, and input from some 2000 stakeholders have helped form the plan. The 266-page plan covers the area of Virginia from the Fall Line to the Atlantic coastline, which includes about six million residents.  For those areas, the plan identifies vulnerabilities to, and impacts from, current and expected sea-level rise and increased flooding.  It focuses on ways the Commonwealth can increase resilience, which the plan defines as “the capability to anticipate, prepare for, respond to, and recover from hazards to minimize damage to social well-being, health, the economy, and the environment.”  A Coastal Resilience Database compiled for the plan includes over 500 examples of projects to adapt to changing conditions and of initiatives to build capacity in information, skills, and tools.  Funding for such efforts may come from various sources, but one key source is the Virginia Community Flood Preparedness Fund, created by the Virginia General Assembly in 2020 and using money accrued from the auction of carbon allowances. Implementation of the plan will be managed by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation in cooperation with the Commonwealth's Chief Resilience Officer and the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection.  Phase Two of the plan, with more data and project information, is to be completed by 2024, and updates to the whole plan are supposed to occur every five years. According to the plan's impact assessment, between now and 2080 Virginia is projected to face large increases in residents exposed to coastal flooding, in flood property damage, in roadway miles exposed to chronic flooding, and in losses of tidal wetlands, dunes, and beaches.  As Gov. Northam stated in a December 7 letter accompanying the plan's release, the plan provides a “clearer picture of the scope and scale” of these challenges, catalogs current resilience efforts, and identifies gaps in actions and in information.  Here's hoping Virginia puts its Coastal Resilience Master Plan to good use. Thanks to The Steel Wheels and to Bob Gramann for permission to use this week's music, and we close with about 10 more seconds of Mr. Gramann's “Cypress Canoe.” MUSIC – ~11 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 This Virginia Water Radio episode is a follow-up to Episode 552, 11-23-20. “Cypress Canoe,” from the 2019 album “I Made It Just for You,” is copyright by Bob Gramann, used with permission.  More information about Bob Gramann is available online at https://www.bobgramann.com/folksinger.html.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 552, 11-23-20. “Rains Come,” from the 2019 album “Over the Trees,” is copyright by The Steel Wheels, used with permission.  A July 2019 review by Americana Highways of this album and track is available online at https://americanahighways.org/2019/07/09/review-the-steel-wheels-over-the-trees-is-primary-rhythms-and-organic-melodies/.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at https://www.thesteelwheels.com/ and in a July 2015 article at http://whurk.org/29/the-steel-wheels.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 552, 11-23-20. 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 Map of the four master planning regions, with their respective and the planning district commissions (PDC) and regional commissions (RC), in the “Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, Phase I,” December 2021. Map from the plan document, page 9, accessed online https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/plan. Chart of population and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the four master planning regions identified in the “Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, Phase I,” December 2021. Image from the plan document, page 24, accessed online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/plan. EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT THE VIRGINIA COASTAL RESILIENCE MASTER PLAN, PHASE I Following is an excerpt from the December 7, 2021, news release from Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's office, Governor Northam Releases Virginia's First Coastal Resilience Master Plan; Virginia takes monumental action to build a resilient coast, combating climate change and rising sea levels. “HAMPTON—Governor Ralph Northam today released the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, providing a foundational and fundamental step towards protecting Virginia's coast. “Virginia's coastal areas face significant impacts from rising sea levels and increased storm flooding.  The Commonwealth, regional and local entities have to take meaningful and continuous action to ensure the long-term sustainability of Virginia's coastal resources and communities. … “Earlier this year, the Commonwealth worked with 2,000 stakeholders to build the Coastal Resilience Master Plan.  This plan documents which land is exposed to coastal flooding hazards now and into the future, as well as the impacts of those future scenarios on coastal Virginia's community resources and manmade and natural infrastructure. “The Master Plan concluded that between 2020 and 2080: the number of residents living in homes exposed to extreme coastal flooding is projected to grow from approximately 360,000 to 943,000, an increase of 160%; the number of residential, public, and commercial buildings exposed to an extreme coastal flood is projected to increase by almost 150%, from 140,000 to 340,000, while annualized flood damages increase by 1,300% from $0.4 to $5.1 billion; the number of miles of roadways exposed to chronic coastal flooding is projected to increase from 1,000 to nearly 3,800 miles, an increase of nearly 280%; and an estimated 170,000 acres, or 89%, of existing tidal wetlands and 3,800 acres, or 38%, of existing dunes and beaches may be permanently inundated, effectively lost to open water. “The Coastal Resiliency Database and Web Explorer is a publicly available database that shows the impact of coastal flood hazards, current and proposed resilience projects, as well as funding sources.  This database will serve as a vital tool to support resilience efforts at the state, regional, and local levels. … “The Commonwealth intends to develop successive updates of the Master Plan on at least a five-year cycle, managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation in consultation with the Chief Resilience Officer, the Special Assistant to the Governor for Coastal Adaptation and Protection, and the Technical Advisory Committee. “The next phase of the Master Plan is anticipated by 2024, will aim to address recommendations of the TAC to broaden the analysis of natural hazards by including rainfall-driven, riverine, and compound flooding, expand and improve the inventory of resilience projects, by continuing to add efforts and working with project owners to better understand the benefits of projects, and extend this critical work beyond the coastal region to encompass statewide resilience needs. …” SOURCESUsed for AudioVirginia Governor's Office News Release, Governor Northam Releases Virginia's First Coastal Resilience Master Plan; Virginia takes monumental action to build a resilient coast, combating climate change and rising sea levels, December 7, 2021. Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, December 7, 2021, letter accompanying release of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan, online (as a PDF) at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/document/CRMP-Gov-Letter.pdf. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Community Flood Preparedness Fund Grants and Loans,” online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/dam-safety-and-floodplains/dsfpm-cfpf. Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, “Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan,” online at https://www.dcr.virginia.gov/crmp/plan.  The full document and a two-page summary are available on the page.   “Resilience” is defined in the Master Plan “Introduction” on page 5; the areas covered by the plan are identified in the “Introduction” on page 9; who's coordinating the plan is identified in the “Introduction” on page 6. Virginia Legislative Information System (LIS), online at http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm. See particularly the following bills related to recurrent coastal flooding: 2014 HJ 16 and SJ 3, calling for formation of the Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations for the Development of a Comprehensive and Coordinated Planning Effort to Address Recurrent Flooding; 2016 HJ 84 and SJ 58, continuing the work of the joint subcommittee formed in 2014 and changing it to the Joint Subcommittee on Coastal Flooding;2016 SB 282, establishing the Virginia Shoreline Resiliency Fund;2020 HB 22 and SB 320, continuing the Shoreline Resiliency Fund as the Community Flood Preparedness Fund;2020 HB 981 and SB 1027, establishing a carbon allowances trading program for Virginia and providing that some of the revenue from the sale of carbon allowances go to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund. For More Information about Sea Level Rise, Coastal and Tidal Flooding, and Resilience John Boon et al., “Planning for Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding,” Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), October 2008, online (as PDF) at https://www.vims.edu/research/units/legacy/icccr/_docs/coastal_sea_level.pdf. City of Alexandria, Va., “Flood Mitigation,” online at https://www.alexandriava.gov/special/waterfront/default.aspx?id=85880. City of Norfolk, Va., “Flood Awareness and Mitigation,” online at https://www.norfolk.gov/1055/Flooding-Awareness-Mitigation. City of Virginia Beach Department of Public Works, “Sea Level Wise,” online at https://www.vbgov.com/government/departments/public-works/comp-sea-level-rise/Pages/default.aspx. Coastal Resilience, online at https://coastalresilience.org/. Coastal Resilience/Virginia is online at https://coastalresilience.org/category/virginia/. Sandy Hausman, “Online Tool Helps Coastal Communities Plan for Climate Change,” WVTF FM-Roanoke, Va., 10/11/18, 2 min./34 sec. audio https://www.wvtf.org/post/online-tool-helps-coastal-communities-plan-climate-change#stream/0. This is a report about the Virginia Eastern Shore Coastal Resilience Mapping and Decision Support Tool. Joey Holleman, “Designing for Water—Strategies to Mitigate Flood Impacts,” Coastal Heritage, Winter 2019, South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium, online at https://www.scseagrant.org/designing-for-water/. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Sixth Assessment Synthesis Report,” online at https://www.ipcc.ch/ar6-syr/.  Sea level rise is addressed in the “Physical Science Basis” section (by Working Group I), online at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sixth-assessment-report-working-group-i/. The IPCC “Special Report on the Ocean and Cryosphere in a Changing Climate,” September 2019, is online at https://www.ipcc.ch/srocc/home/. Rita Abou Samra, “Alexandria is already often waterlogged. How will it adjust to climate change?” 9/13/18, for Greater Greater Washington, online at https://ggwash.org/view/69058/alexandria-is-already-often-waterlogged-how-will-it-adjust-to-climate-change. SeaLevelRise.org, “Virginia's Sea Level Is Rising—And It's Costing Over $4 Billion,” online at https://sealevelrise.org/states/virginia/. U.S. Climate Variability and Predictability Program (US CLIVAR), “Sea Level Hotspots from Florida to Maine—Drivers, Impacts, and Adaptation,” April 23-25, 2019, workshop in Norfolk, Va., online at https://usclivar.org/meetings/sea-level-hotspots-florida-maine. Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), “U.S. Sea Level Report Cards,” online at https://www.vims.edu/research/products/slrc/index.php. Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), “Recurrent Flooding Study for Tidewater Virginia,” 2013, available online (as a PDF) at http://ccrm.vims.edu/recurrent_flooding/Recurrent_Flooding_Study_web.pdf.  This study was significant in the Virginia General Assembly's formation in 2014 of the Joint Subcommittee to Formulate Recommendations for the Development of a Comprehensive and Coordinated Planning Effort to Address Recurrent Flooding. Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS)/Center for Coastal Resources Management, “Climate Change and Coastal Resilience,” online at https://www.vims.edu/ccrm/research/climate_change/index.php.  This site includes a 40-second video on sea level rise in Virginia and a 40-second video on nuisance flooding. Wetlands Watch, “Dutch Dialogues—Virginia: Life at Sea Level,” online at http://wetlandswatch.org/dutch-dialogues. William and Mary Law School/Virginia Coastal Policy Center, 7th Annual Conference: “The Three P's of Resilience: Planning, Partnerships, and Paying for It All,” November 15, 2019, Williamsburg, Va., online at this link. 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 “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject category. Following are links to some previous episodes on climate change, sea-level rise, and coastal flooding in Virginia. Episode 231, 9-15-14 – Climate change impacts in Virginia National Park Service units, including Assateague Island National Seashore. Episode 441, 10-8-18 – on sea-level rise and citizen measurement of king tides. Episode 494, 10-14-19 – on sea-level rise and coastal flooding. Episode 511, 2-10-20 – on sea-level rise and the Saltmarsh Sparrow. Episode 552, 11-23-20 – on the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Planning Framework. Episode 602, 11-8-21 – on photosynthesis, including its relationship to climate change. 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-5: Earth and Space Systems 4.4 – Weather conditions and climate have effects on ecosystems and can be predicted. Grade 6 6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment. 6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment. Life Science LS.9 – Relationships exist between ecosystem dynamics and human activity. Earth Science ES.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. ES.11 – The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic system subject to long-and short-term variations. ES.12 – The Earth's weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun's energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land. Biology BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems. 2015 Social Studies SOLs Virginia Studies Course VS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia. United States History: 1865-to-Present Course USII.9 – Domestic and international issues during the second half of the 20th Century and the early 21st Century. Civics and Economics Course 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 Course WG.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.18 – Cooperation among political jurisdictions to solve problems and settle disputes. Virginia and United States History Course VUS.14 – Political and social conditions in the 21st Century. Government Course 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 406, 2-5-18 – on ice on rivers, for middle school. 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.

work bay humans university agency music natural relationships earth political state audio college climate change map steel wheels tech water web index rain pond research climate ocean weather government education public recreation conservation loans trees development forward chesapeake snow sea resilience paying environment adaptation images designing cooperation norfolk governor va domestic funding pages sb planning commonwealth atlantic stream citizens williamsburg environmental dynamic phase one tac sj hj hb biology civics partnership grade resource rc public works bio facing chart billion implementation northam coastal scales govt watershed transcript earth sciences wg freshwater impacts virginia tech ls atlantic ocean sea level rise intergovernmental panel climate change ipcc natural resources comprehensive grades k virginia general assembly fredericksburg harrisonburg master plan phase two virginia governor sea level sections life sciences stormwater pdc special assistant policymakers mitigation bmp ralph northam ipcc special report email campaigns changing climate gross domestic product gdp rockingham county new standard acknowledgment virginia department cripple creek virginia institute cumberland gap technical advisory committee sols tmdl chief resilience officer greater greater washington united states history vus wetlands watch climate variability cryosphere virginia standards water center fall line coastal resilience assateague island national seashore space systems audio notes flood mitigation virginia gov
Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 20, 2021: UVA Foundation purchases Ivy Square Shopping Center for $20 million; Friendship Court to break ground in mid-January

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 14:42


The 2021 farewell tour continues with the final Monday installment of the year for the newsletter and podcast you’re about to read or listen to. This is likely also the last one that will be posted before the winter solstice. Will you be able to feel the shift, or are maneuvers of solar systems mechanics something that only shows up as a trick of the light? That’s not the concern of this edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement, but it certainly is something to note.On today’s program: The Ivy Square Shopping Center is purchased by an entity associated with the University of Virginia FoundationPiedmont Housing Alliance sets a date for the groundbreaking for the redevelopment of Friendship Court Charlottesville is considering a historic district to honor the architectural legacy of prominent builder C.H. Brown Transportation updates from the Metropolitan Planning Organization Governor-elect Youngkin names a data policy specialist to serve as Secretary of EducationIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign  an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedm+ont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!Covid updateAs the week begins, the Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,991 new cases of COVID-19, and the seven-day average for positivity PCR tests has increased to 9.3 percent. The seven-day average for new cases has risen to 3,286 a day. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 67 new cases today and the percent positivity is at 6.7 percent.UVA Foundation purchases Ivy Square Shopping CenterA company associated with the University of Virginia Foundation has paid $20 million for the 2.77 acre shopping center where Food of All Nations is located. Ivy Square of Charlottesville LLC paid nearly 126 percent over the assessment for the two properties and three buildings. A second shopping center to the west is broken up among several owners. The UVA Foundation has been steadily purchasing properties along Ivy Road for many years. The UVA Office of the Architect began planning a master plan for the area east of Copeley Road in the fall of 2016. Work is underway for a precinct that will include the School of Data Science, the Karsh Institute for Democracy, a hotel and convention center, as well as other uses that have yet to be announced. This summer, the Office of the Architect presented a plan for the redevelopment of Ivy Gardens off of Old Ivy Road to the UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee. The Foundation purchased that property in Albemarle back in the summer of 2016 according to Albemarle County property records. (UVA making plans for Ivy Garden redevelopment, June 9, 2021)Date announced for Friendship Court groundbreakingThe Piedmont Housing Alliance has set a date for the groundbreaking for the first phase of redevelopment of Friendship Court. The nonprofit has spent several years planning to upgrade the 150-unit complex and a ceremony will be held on January 15 to mark the beginning of construction. “The last five years of dedication and hard work by the residents of the Friendship Court Advisory Committee are finally about to blossom,” said PHA executive director Sunshine Mathon in an email to Charlottesville Community Engagement this morning. “The beginning of Phase 1 of redevelopment marks the beginning of a transformed neighborhood as envisioned by the residents themselves.  I am deeply honored by the opportunity to bring their vision to creation.”According to the PHA website, the existing buildings were constructed in 1978 on what had been a neighborhood that was razed in the name of urban renewal. Piedmont Housing Alliance and the National Housing Trust acquired the property in 2002 and PHA began managing it in 2019. “We are committed to zero displacement,” reads the website. “The first phase of housing will be built on existing open land.”The city of Charlottesville has committed to a multimillion dollar investment across four phases of development. The adopted capital budget for the current fiscal year sets aside $2 million in cash for infrastructure improvements, nearly $400,000 for the first phase, and $750,000 for the second phase. Future years carry on that investment. (Council approves agreement for Friendship Court funding, October 30, 2020) New historic district?The city of Charlottesville will study whether to create a new historic district to commemorate a man who built many structures for Black families and businesses in the mid 20th century. Planning Commissioner Jody Lahendro is also a member of the Board of Architectural Review and he briefed his PC colleagues last week (staff report)“This is actually a tremendous story that I wish more of us knew about,” Lahendro said. “This designation would honor and recognize the importance of the Reverend Charles H. Brown. From his experience in the building trades in the early 30’s and 40’,s Reverend Brown personally managed, financed, and participated in the construction of about 70 houses from the 1940’s to the 1980’s.”Lahendro said Brown built in Black neighborhoods and used materials that allowed for houses to be affordable. “He often provided the co-sign and promissory notes and provided financing to get people into these houses,” Lahendro said. Lahendro said the district will cover the Holy Temple of God In Christ as well as five other homes in the Venable neighborhood built by Brown. The matter will go through the usual rezoning process including public hearings with the Planning Commission and the City Council. You’re reading to Charlottesville. Community Engagement. Let’s continue today with two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!Youngkin chooses Education SecretaryGovernor-Elect Glenn Youngkin has selected the founder of a national education nonprofit to serve as his Secretary of Education. Aimee Rogstad Guidera formerly created the Data Quality Campaign in 2005 to advocate for the usage of metrics to guide education policy. In a statement released this morning, Youngkin said Guidera will help him implement his vision for public education. “Aimee is deeply respected for her distinguished career advocating for innovation and choice, data-driven reform, and high standards, and will apply these principles in order to implement the Day One Game Plan,” he wrote. “Most importantly, she understands that parents matter, and the best interests of students must come first.” Guidera stepped down from the Data Quality Campaign in 2017 and now runs her own consulting firm called Guidera Strategy. Her time at the campaign provides some insight into her philosophy on education. Here are a few examples. Time to Ditch the Data Boogeyman, June 6, 2016Data Quality Campaign Releases Statement on Trump’s Education Priorities, November 14, 2016Statement on the Recommendations from the Commission on Evidence-Based Policymaking, September 7, 2017Transportation updatesTo conclude today, let’s go back to the December 7, 2021 meeting of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Board to get some updates. The Virginia Department of Transportation is working on a new way of planning for the state’s future connectivity needs. Project Pipeline builds off of the Smart Scale funding process which seeks to pay for projects that will accomplish specific goals. Several preliminary corridor studies are underway across Virginia, including two in Albemarle. Chuck Proctor is a transportation planner in VDOT’s Culpeper District.“One of them is for Pantops and it goes from Hansen Road to the interchange at I-64, and the other is the Shadwell intersection at Route 22 and Route 250 and also North Milton Road and 250,” Proctor said. Community engagement for both studies is expected to take place around this time with a public meeting sometime in January. Both are areas identified to have a Potential for Safety Improvement. The website for the Pantop study notes a lack of pedestrian connectivity in the area, and the website for the Shadwell study notes a prevalence for rear end collisions due to long back-ups. Those studies would yield projects for a future beyond the current looming deadline for the fifth round of Smart Scale funding. Albemarle and Charlottesville will have the chance to submit four projects. The MPO Policy Board will select four, and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission will select another four. One potential application for the MPO is a pedestrian and cyclist bridge over the Rivanna River to connect Charlottesville and the Pantops section of Albemarle County. A stakeholder group has met twice in the past month to discuss that application. Sandy Shackleford is the director of transportation and planning at the TJPDC. “We’ll plan to again in the spring or maybe February or March plan to do a full meeting where we go through all of the projects for the MPO area as well as the PDC,” Shackleford said. The other three applications for the MPO under consideration are bike and pedestrian improvements on Avon Street Extended, multimodal improvements 5th Street, and a roundabout at the intersection of District Avenue and Hydraulic Road at Stonefield. Supervisor Ann Mallek said there may be support for the latter project.“I just learned this week that UVA has moved a lot of their IT department out to Hydraulic Road and they were very interested in safe crossings to Stonefield at lunch,” Mallek said. Staunton-Cville bus ridershipThe Afton Express commuter route between Staunton and Charlottesville is now in its third month of operations, according to Sara Pennington, the TJPDC program manager for Rideshare. “In those three months there have been more than 1,500 passenger trips taken and that is across the four morning and the four evening runs and the service does run Monday through Friday,” Pennington said, adding that ridership has grown steadily since launching with November outperforming September despite the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s still about 40 rides a day, and the goal from the planning study is to get to 80 riders a day. Speaking of Smart Scale, a new park-and-ride lot in Waynesboro funded through the process has just been completed.  (VDOT information)“But they also put in a shelter for the Afton Express so those kinds of things went hand in hand,” Pennington said. Pennington said Afton Express will soon launch a new text-alert system for its service that would let riders know about potential delays and other service changes. Charlottesville Area Transit is working on a pilot project to improve bus stops. Garland Williams is the agency’s director. “We’re going to use Belmont Park as kind of that test,” Williams said. “There is a shelter there but it isn’t [Americans with Disabilities Act] compliant.  It basically sits on the street. We’re going to remove that and put in a shelter so that everyone can see when we’re starting to do capital projects along transit, what it looks like and what we have to do to make it compliant.” Sean Nelson, the district engineer for VDOT’s Culpeper District, updated the MPO on the status of a project awarded Smart Scale funds in Round 4. “The only thing I can give an update on is the U.S. 29 and Hydraulic design-build package that we’re putting together,” Nelson said. “That is slated for a public hearing in March or April of 2022 with a [request for proposal] to be released at the end July 2022, anticipated award in December 2022, with a project completion in the winter of 2024.” This project will include a pedestrian bridge over U.S. 29 as well as a roundabout at the intersection of Hydraulic Road and Hillsdale Drive Extended. Learn more in the Smart Scale application. This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 18, 2021: CDC recommends using Moderna, Pfizer over J&J for booster doses; ACHS working on Race & Sports initiative

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 18, 2021 17:35


This is not the final Saturday of 2021, but this is the final Saturday edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement for this two thousandth and twenty-first year of the common era. There’s been nothing common about this year, or any other, for that matter. This newsletter and podcast seeks to point out items of note, though it’s up to you to decide if there’s a tune. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs.This newsletter and podcast is supported by readers and listeners. Sign up for a regular update on what’s happening in the community, and decide later whether to pay! On today’s show:An update on the pandemic including a recommendation related to the Johnson and Johnson vaccineAn Albemarle Supervisor has concerns about the MPO hiring a consultant to craft a strategic plan Albemarle is considering three software platformsThe Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society explains its Race and Sports initiative and how it advances the study of the era of school desegregation In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out:Algorithms know how to put songs and artists together based on genre or beats per minute. But only people can make connections that engage your mind and warm your heart. The music on WTJU 91.1 FM is chosen by dozens and dozens of volunteer hosts -- music lovers like you who live right here in the Charlottesville area. Listener donations keep WTJU alive and thriving. In this era of algorithm-driven everything, go against the grain. Support freeform community radio on WTJU. Consider a donation at wtju.net/donate.Pandemic updateOn Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control endorsed a recommendation that individuals should receive the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine over the Johnson and Johnson shot. Both Moderna and Pfizer use messenger RNA. Still, the CDC recommends any vaccine in the face of another surge of cases nationally and internationally. (CDC release)“In general, the mRNA vaccines by Pfizer and Moderna should be used in preference over Johnson and Johnson’s vaccine,” said Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System.”Dr. Sifri said the new preference is due to new information that shows the possibility of higher rates of blood clotting than was previously known. “Still, it is a rare event but they are higher and it led to the change in stance,” Dr. Sifri said. The Blue Ridge Health District announced Friday that the Johnson and Johnson shot will only be offered a first dose but boosters will no longer be provided at community-based vaccination events or in mobile vaccination clinics. They will still be available at the community vaccination center at Seminole Square while supplies last. Dr. Sifri said those who have had the booster of the Johnson and Johnson should monitor for any symptoms of blood clots such as shortage of breath. He said UVA Health is recommending those who have not had the J&J booster select either the Moderna or Pfizer when they go in for a booster. Two-thirds of Virginians have now received enough doses to be considered fully vaccinated, or 5.7 million people. So far, only 1.7 million of Virginians have had a booster or third dose. “This is the time now to get your booster,” Dr. Sifri said. “The time for getting boosters to prepare yourself for the holiday season is starting to run out. It takes a little bit of time for that booster to take effect and to boost your immune system to encounter what it may encounter along the way.” As of yesterday, the seven-day average for vaccines administered is at 42,631 shots a day. The seven-day average for new cases was 2,760 a day and the percent positivity is 8.6 percent. The next set of numbers in Virginia will come out on Monday. Dr. Sifri said he expects the surge to continue.“We are anticipating that we’re going to see more cases and I think the likelihood that’s going to translate into more hospitalizations and deaths,” Dr. Sifri said. “We’re starting to see modeling information from the CDC that is warning of that possibility so we are concerned about that. That’s similar to what we saw last year as well.”The difference this year is a supply of vaccines. To inquire about vaccination opportunities at the UVA Health System, call 434-297-4829. You can also visit the Virginia Department of Health site at vaccinate.virginia.gov. Albemarle County softwareAlbemarle County’s procurement office has identified that the firm Granicus will be awarded a sole-source contract for a community engagement platform unless other vendors come forward. In a notice dated December 17, procurement officials state that Granicus “is the only source practically available” and the platform Bang the Table is mentioned. Their website lists it as “a platform to listen, inform, measure, and build community” and also has a helpful online assistant known as Eddie the Engager. Other vendors have until December 28 or the contract will be awarded. In similar procurement notices, Yardi Systems has a sole source award for the Breeze Premier platform for property management and that closing date is December 27. Lexis Nexis Systems has a sole source award that closes on Monday for the Accurint Virtual Crime Center which is touted as a way for law enforcement to obtain “a comprehensive view of people’s identities.”New transportation personnelTwo new faces joined the virtual table at the December 7 meeting of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Board. The federally-mandated body consists of two Albemarle Supervisors, two Charlottesville City Councilors, and the head of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Culpeper District. That’s now Sean Nelson, who became District Engineer in mid-October replacing John Lynch. “I’m glad to be a part of this team here,” Nelson said. “I look forward to continuing to keep things going the way John Lynch did and just hold the steering wheel and carry us in to the future. I appreciate being here and plan to be an active participant.” Ted Rieck is the new director of Jaunt after a period running a similar agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. “Really happy to be here in Charlottesville,” Rieck said. “As you all know, this is great community and a great part of the country. I look forward to hopefully being a contributor and a partner to all of you as we development transportation and transit in the area.”MPO Strategic Plan?Staffing shortages at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District have meant some delays in work that transportation staff had expected to work on. Director of Planning and Transportation Sandy Shackleford said planners are focused on what has to be done. “We are preparing for things like our long-range transportation plan and that we’re going to be able to do a good job with that,” Shackleford said. “It does mean that there are some projects that we just haven’t been able to pursue for right now like focusing on how we can better integrate climate action initiatives into our long-range transportation plan process.”Shackleford said another item that will be delayed will be the creation of a strategic plan for the MPO. She suggested additional funding could be placed in an existing item would outsource that work rto a consultant. That idea drew the concern of Albemarle Supervisor Ann Mallek. “This makes me very nervous that we’re going to turn over something as particular and local as our strategic planning to some consultant who probably has no familiarity with us at all,” Mallek said. TJPDC Director Christine Jacobs said the plan already had been to spend $25,000 on a consultant to do the plan, but no firms responded at that price. The new idea is to increase that amount by using funds that have not gone to pay a TJPDC staff member. Shackleford said no other MPO in Virginia has a strategic plan. Mallek suggested waiting until the local elected bodies are sat and select new MPO members. The MPO Policy Board will next discuss the matter in January. Julia Montieth, a land use planner at the University of Virginia’s Office of the Architect, said the pandemic has delayed creation on a master plan called the Grounds Plan. “We ended up putting the project on hold until post-COVID or post-better understanding of COVID,” Monteith said. “But one of the things that we did during that year was we did some enabling projects in-house that we felt we were capable of doing to inform the plan. That lowered our fees once we got to hiring the consultants.” Take a look at the 2008 Grounds Plan here You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. Time for a second Patreon-fueled shout-out:Winter is here, and now is the time to think about keeping your family warm through the cold Virginia months. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society’s Race and Sports projectThe Brown vs. Board of Education ruling in 1954 led to the eventual desegregation of public schools. For many schools created for Black students, that ended an era for beloved institutions. That’s the case with Charlottesville and Jackson P. Burley High School. Dr. Shelley Murphy is the chair of the board of the Albemarle-Charlottesville Historical Society, which has been working on collecting more oral histories as part of a project called Race & Sports: The Desegregation of Central Virginia Public High School Athletics.“Our goal is to collect 50 to 60 interviews from those in our local communities who were young students at that time, many of whom were in the athletics who desegregated the first teams at Lane and Albemarle high schools and some of whom went on to the University of Virginia to play teams there.”Murphy and others presented their work on November 28 to as part of the Sunday Sit-In series put on by AARP Virginia. You can watch the event on their YouTube page. Former City Councilor and historian George Gilliam is one of the participants in the project. He provided some historical context. “So in 1954 in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the United States Supreme Court ruled that racially segregated schools were unconstitutional,” Gilliam said. “That put Virginians into a box because Virginians had adopted a state constitution in 1902 that provided ‘white and colored children shall not be taught in the same school.’” Virginia resisted the directive even after a reaffirmation in 1955 that ordered desegregation happen with “all deliberate speed.” “And after two years, some Charlottesville residents got frustrated and finally brought suit against the Charlottesville School Board seeking admittance of Black children to all-white schools,” Gilliam said. “The Virginia General Assembly then sprung into action enacting a package of laws providing that among other things that any school that desegregates, whether voluntarily or pursuant to court order, is to be seized by the Governor and closed.”Gilliam said this era is known as Massive Resistance because the state government refused to comply with the law. He said in the fall of 1958, the state closed Lane High School when it appeared some Black students would be admitted. The Massive Resistance laws were determined to be unconstitutional.“In 1959 the parties reached a compromise,” Gilliam said. “The schools agreed to ease Black students into the previously all-white student bodies achieving full desegregation but not until the fall of 1967.”For this period, Jackson P. Burley High School remained open for several years while the transition took place. This is where athletics come in. “Charlottesville’s Lane High for white students and Burley High for Black students both had championship football teams,” Gilliam said. “The high school for white students had a 53-game streak during which they were undefeated. And Burley, the high school for Black students had an entire season where they were not only undefeated and untied, they were not even scored upon!”Gilliam said the legacy of the Burley Bears was threatened with the order to desegregate. UVA historian Phyllis Leffler said telling that story is crucial to understanding many of the dynamics of the time in a way that transcends the legal framework. “The Race and Sports inserts the voices of those who lived through a critical time in our local and national history,” Leffler said. “Those voices of Black and white athletes and what they went through are in danger of being lost. So many of the people we would have liked to speak with are no longer with us so it is imperative to document this period now with those who have stories to tell.”Leffler said a common assumption is that sports was seen as a way to bring the community together, but some of the stories paint a different picture. “We are still living the consequences of racial inequities that go back 400 years,” Leffler said. “This project will hopefully help bring our divided communities together by honestly looking at the costs and benefits of desegregation.”Late last year, Jackson P. Burley High School was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Support the program!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 607 (12-13-21): A Winter Holidays History of Counting Birds

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:08).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 12-10-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 13, 2021.  This revised episode from December 2015 is part of a series this year of winter-related episodes. SOUNDS – 7 secThis week, the sound of Mallard ducks on a December day in Blacksburg, Va., is the call to explore the annual Christmas Bird Count, organized by the National Audubon Society.Since 1900, the Society has helped organize volunteers to hold local daylong bird counts between December 14 and January 5.  On any single day within that period, volunteer counters follow specific routes within a 15-mile diameter circle, counting every bird they see or hear.  The count provides a snapshot both of the species encountered and of the numbers of individuals within each species.  According to the Society, this effort is the “longest running community science bird project” in the United States, and it actually takes place now in over 20 countries in the Western Hemisphere.  The results of such a long-term inventory help show the status of bird populations and the impacts of changes in habitat, climate, and other environmental conditions. Of course, birds living around water and wetlands are part of the annual count; in fact, the Audubon Society's founding in the late 1800s was due largely to concerns over commercial use of plumes from egrets and other wading birds.  [Additional note, not in audio: This refers to the founding in 1896 of the Massachusetts Audubon Society, the first state-level affiliate of the National Audubon Society, founded in 1905.  For more information on this history, see the Extra Information section below.] So what kinds of water-related birds might Virginia Christmas bird counters find?  Have a listen for about 20 seconds to this sample of four possible species.SOUNDS - 23 secThe Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Ring-billed Gull, and Greater Yellowlegs are among the many water-related birds that inhabit parts of Virginia during winter, including shorebirds, ducks, herons, and lots of others.  Keeping track of these and other feathered Virginia winter residents is a holiday tradition for many Commonwealth citizens with patience, binoculars, and attentive eyes and ears.Thanks to Lang Elliott for permission to use the eagle, kingfisher, gull, and yellowlegs sounds, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs. Here's hoping that Virginia's Christmas bird counters find good variety and high numbers this year.  We close with a U.S. Fish and Wildfire Service recording of another Virginia water-related winter resident, the Common Loon, a species that some diligent coastalVirginia counter might spot or hear on a winter day or night. SOUNDS - ~6 sec 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 294, 12-14-15. The Mallard sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio at the Virginia Tech Duck Pond in Blacksburg on December 10, 2015. The sounds of the Bald Eagle, Belted Kingfisher, Ring-billed Gull, and Greater Yellowlegs were taken from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs-Eastern RegionCD 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/. The Common Loon sounds were taken from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Digital Library, http://digitalmedia.fws.gov/cdm/; the specific URL for the loons recording was https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/audio/id/57/rec/1, as of 12-13-21. 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 Mallards (several males, plus one female on right) on Virginia Tech Duck Pond, Blacksburg, December 10, 2015.Great Blue Heron in a stormwater pond near the Virginia Tech Inn and Alumni Center in Blacksburg, December 16, 2021.Canada Geese beside a stormwater pond near the Virginia Tech Inn and Alumni Center in Blacksburg, December 11, 2021. EXTRA INFORMATION On Bird Counts Another nationwide count is the Great Backyard Bird Count, held each February and organized by Audubon, the Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, and Birds Canada.  This count calls on volunteers to watch birds for 15 minutes or more, at least once over four days (February 18-21 in 2022), and record the species and numbers of all the birds seen or heard.  Its results also contribute to large-scale and long-term understanding of bird species distribution and health.  For more information, visit http://gbbc.birdcount.org/.On Audubon Society History and Waterbirds “Outrage over the slaughter of millions of waterbirds, particularly egrets and other waders, for the millinery trade led to the foundation, by Harriet Hemenway and Mina Hall, of the Massachusetts Audubon Society in 1896.  By 1898, state-level Audubon Societies had been established in Pennsylvania, New York, New Hampshire, Illinois, Maine, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Connecticut, the District of Columbia, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee, Minnesota, Texas, and California. ...In 1901, state-level Audubon groups joined together in a loose national organization....  In 1905, the National Audubon Society was founded, with the protection of gulls, terns, egrets, herons, and other waterbirds high on its conservation priority list.” – National Audubon Society, “History of Audubon and Science-based Bird Conservation, online at http://www.audubon.org/content/history-audubon-and-waterbird-conservation.On Loon Calls in Winter“Generally loons are silent on the wintering grounds, but occasionally on a quiet winter night one will hear their primeval, tremulous yodel.” – Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay (Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006), p. 285.“All calls can be heard in migration and winter, but compared to the breeding season, they are uncommon.” – Cornell University Lab of Ornithology and American Ornithologists' Union, “Birds of North America Online/Common Loon/Sounds,” online at https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/comloo/cur/sounds (subscription required for access to this Web site). SOURCES Used in 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 for this site). Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006. National Audubon Society, online at http://www.audubon.org/. National Audubon Society, “Christmas Bird Count,” online at http://www.audubon.org/conservation/science/christmas-bird-count. Kathy Reshetiloff, “Listen for the haunting call of loons on Bay's frigid winter waters,” Bay Journal, 12/8/14, updated 3/31/20. 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/.The Bald Eagle entry is online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040093&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18974.The Belted Kingfisher entry is online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040220&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18974.The Ring-billed Gull entry is online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040170&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18974.The Greater Yellowlegs entry is online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040130&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18974.The Common Loon entry is online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040001&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18974. For More Information about Birds in Virginia or Elsewhere Chesapeake Bay Program, “Birds,” online athttps://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 Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “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. 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” and “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject categories. Following are links to several other winter-related episodes, including episodes on some birds that reside in Virginia typically only in winter (listed separately).  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in late 2021 and early 2022; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes. Frost – Episode 597, 10-4-21.Freezing and ice – Episode 606, 12-6-21 (especially for grades K-3).Ice on ponds and lakes – Episode 404, 1-22-18 (especially for grades 4-8).Ice on rivers – Episode 406, 2-5-18 (especially for middle school grades).Polar Plunge®for Special Olympics – Episode 356, 2-20-17.Snow physics and chemistry – Episode 407, 2-12-18 (especially for high school grades).Snow, sleet, and freezing rain – Episode 461, 2-25-19.Snow terms – Episode 300, 1-25-16.Surviving freezing – Episode 556, 12-21-20.Winter precipitation and water supplies – Episode 567, 3-8-21.Winter weather preparedness – Episode 605, 11-29-21.Water thermodynamics – Episode 195, 1-6-14. Bird-related Episodes for Winter American Avocet – Episode 543, 9-21-20.Brant (goose) – Episode 502, 12-9-19.Canvasback (duck) – Episode 604, 11-22-21.&l

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Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 16, 2021: Charlottesville PC recommends more funding for affordable housing, new sidewalks; Pinkston, Wade take oath of office for Council

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 24:24


We’re now less than a week away from the solstice, which takes place at precisely 10:59 a.m. on December 21 on the eastern coast of the United States. Until then we’ve got a few more days of lengthening night before the pendulum shifts back to light and the march to 2022 continues with new energy. Between now and then there will be a few installments of Charlottesville Community Engagement and this is the one for December 16, 2021. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs.Charlottesville Community Engagement is a great way to find out about what’s happening and how you can get involved It’s free to sign-up, but there are many opportunities to support the work!On today’s show:Brian Pinkston and Juandiego Wade are officially sworn in as City Councilors, as well as members of the Charlottesville School BoardVirginia Tech and a Richmond consortium have both been awarded half-million grants for economic development A pair of transit updates, including the fact that Charlottesville Area Transit will remain fare-free for four years The Charlottesville Planning Commission provides direction on Charlottesville’s next capital budget In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. COVID UpdateThe number of new COVID cases in Virginia continues to climb, but the percent positivity has dipped slightly. This morning the Virginia Department of Health reported another 3,688 new cases and 102 of those are in the Blue Ridge Health District. Statewide the seven-day percent positivity is 8.5 percent and in the BRHD it’s at 7.2 percent. New elected officials sworn-inThere are still 15 days left in 2021, and City Councilors Heather Hill and Nikuyah Walker have one more meeting on Monday. The near future became a little closer on Wednesday as two incoming City Councilors and three members of the Charlottesville School Board took the oath of office on the steps of Charlottesville Circuit Court. The School Board went first with newcomers Emily Dooley and Dom Morse sworn in individually with family members at their side. Second-termer Lisa Larson-Torres went next. Then it was time for City Councilor-elect Brian Pinkston followed by Juandiego Wade. I asked both if they are ready to take on the task. “You know, I think I’m as ready as I’ll ever be,” Pinkston said. “I joke that it’s a little like getting married or having a kid. You think what you’re getting into but it’s not what you expected. There’s good part and bad parts to that and so the short answer is yes. I’m ready. I’m excited about it. I’m going to roll up my sleeves and try to make a difference.” “I’m ready, I am prepared,” Wade said. “I feel like I’ve been preparing for this for the last years being connected and involved in the community. I feel like now is an opportunity for me to take my service and my commitment to the city to a different level.” In a separate ceremony that also took place yesterday morning, the members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors were also sworn in, including newcomer Jim Andrews, who will represent the Samuel Miller District. Andrews joined third-term Supervisor Diantha McKeel (Jack Jouett) and two-term Supervisor Ned Gallaway (Rio). Transit updatesIn yesterday’s newsletter, there’s a lot of information about planning for a Regional Transit Vision that may include formation of an authority that could raise funds for expanded service. There’s also a second study underway to determine the feasibility of additional routes to serve urbanized portions of Albemarle County as well as Monticello. The results are in from a survey conducted on two potential scenarios according to Lucinda Shannon, a transportation planner with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. (project website)“They found that most of the services that people selected in that public outreach was scenario 2 for all three of the areas which is a lot of microtransit connecting with some fixed routes,” Shannon said. The study also found that 98 percent of people who travel to Monticello do so in a car that they either own or rent. That’s based on 51 respondents. The U.S. 29 North survey got 104 responses and the Pantops survey got 54 respondents. The consultants hired for this project are Michael Baker International and Foursquare ITP. The next step is a Board of Supervisors meeting on January 19, according to Shannon. Charlottesville Area Transit will remain fare-free for the next four years. The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation awarded a $1.07 million grant through the Transit Ridership Incentive Program. CAT had already put some of the American Rescue Plan Act funding for this purpose, and the new grant covers fares for an additional year. CAT Director Garland Williams said he anticipates planned route changes will soon be implemented. The adjustments have been through the public process. Williams briefed the Regional Transit Partnership at their meeting on December 2. “We’re still moving forward and hoping to be able to implement in January unless something changes,” Williams said. Learn more about those route changes on the Charlottesville Area Transit website at catchthecat.org. In other news, Jaunt’s new chief executive officer has named Karen Davis the transit agency’s Deputy Chief Executive Officer. Davis served as interim CEO for exactly a year after the Board asked former CEO Brad Sheffield to resign. Ted Rieck started work as CEO earlier this month after heading a similar transit agency in Tulsa, Oklahoma. *Infrastructure grantsTwo entities in Virginia have been awarded $500,000 planning grants from the federal government to increase infrastructure necessary to increase commerce and trade. The U.S. Economic Development Authority awarded Build Back Better Regional Challenge awards to Virginia Tech and the Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority for initiatives that seek to create “regional industry clusters.” Virginia Tech’s application is called The Future of Transportation Logistics and covers a wide section of southwest and southern Virginia. The idea is to accelerate the adoption of electric and automated vehicles. “Projections by the World Economic Forum expect freight demand to triple by 2050,” reads their application. “This growing demand poses challenges from environmental degradation to a strained transportation workforce.”The New River Valley region includes three truck manufacturers, including the national headquarters for Volvo. The work will involve building a coalition to share information as well as demonstration projects such as upgrading a section of Interstate 81 between Salem to Dublin to accommodate automated vehicles. The Virginia Biotechnology Research Partnership Authority covers the Richmond and Petersburg area and is intended to create an Advanced Pharmaceutical and Research and Development cluster. “A staggering 73% of Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-registered active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) manufacturing facilities are located outside the United States,” reads that application. ”Overseas pharmaceutical manufacturing not only poses a security risk but also takes essential jobs away from the U.S.”Both entities will now be eligible to apply for additional funding from the U.S. Economic Development Authority to implement the projects. Thanks to Route 50 for the information on this grant program. (read their article)In today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that  jazz, and there’s no time like now to find a time to get out and watch people love to play. The Charlottesville Jazz Society keeps a running list of what’s coming up at cvillejazz.org. Sign up for their newsletter today. Tree canopy declineAt their meeting on Tuesday, the Charlottesville Planning Commission held three public hearings on three big topics. But first, they got updates from various committees. Commissioner Jody Lahendro and he relayed news from the Tree Commission about the forthcoming tree canopy study. A preliminary report states that the percentage of the city covered by trees has shrunk by at least four percent since 2015. “Because of COVID, the flyover for this tree canopy study was done in 2018 so it’s dated now,” Lahendro said. “The news is not great as you might imagine.” Lahendro said the city had a tree canopy of 50 percent in 2004 and that declined to 47 percent in 2009. “In 2014 it went down to 45 percent and in 2018, this latest, it’s to 40 percent,” Lahendro said. When you break the city down by neighborhood, nine out of 19 recognized areas are below 40 percent. Lahendro said that is the point where both health and economic development is affected.“And then two of our districts — Starr Hill and 10th and Page — are below twenty percent,” Lahendro said. “Those are where significant detrimental effects are happening.” Lahendro said the city is projected to lose 360 ash trees to emerald ash borers over the next five years. The city can only afford to treat 30 trees. Charlottesville’s FY23-27 CIP discussionThe Charlottesville City Planning Commission has made its recommendations for how to amend the draft capital budget for the next five years. That came at the end of a public hearing Tuesday that featured a discussion with City Council. Elected officials will make the final decision next spring as they adopt a budget that will be prepared under the supervision of a yet-to-be-named interim city manager. (draft FY23-FY27 CIP presentation to Planning Commission) (adopted FY22 budget)The Commission got a look at the information at a work session on November 23, and heard it a second time from Senior Budget Analyst Krissy Hammill in advance of the public hearing. To recap, the capital budget is close to capacity due to the increase of spending in recent years, including a $75 million placeholder for the reconfiguration of middle schools. Council has also authorized a reorientation of priorities to find more money for the schools project. (previous story)“There were some large projects that were previously authorized to use bonds for that we unfunded essentially to be able to move them to get us to a place where we could increase the $25 million for the school project,” Hammill said. “That was the West Main Street project which was originally in the CIP at $18.25 million and the 7th Street Parking Garage which we unfunded about $5 million of that project.”Hammill said to pay for the projects, the city will need additional revenue and will not be able to add any more capital projects for many years unless they are paid for in cash. The city has had a AAA bond rating from Standards and Poor since 1964 and from Moody’s since 1973. “Essentially the AAA bond rating gives the city the opportunity to borrow money at the lowest cost available so that means that more dollars are going to the projects and less dollars are going towards interest,” Hammill said. Hammill said the city is in good financial shape, but funding future investments will be a struggle. At the work session, Hammill invited ideas for further reallocations from other projects. She also said that the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act will likely not be a salvation for the city. “Many of us in finance have sort of been waiting in the wings to find out what would be available and it’s actually not a one size fits all and it doesn’t deliver on a lot of what we already have in our CIP,” Hammill said. “So it not going to help us address our financing problems largely.”Another issue is that many of the funding sources will require local matches. She pointed out one opportunity for Charlottesville Area Transit to raise up to $37 million, but the city would have to provide a $2 million match.“That’s not in our curent CIP,” Hammill said. Revisising the Strategic Investment AreaThe two bodies discussed many aspects of the capital budget, including whether or not several general interest line items should be given additional funds in the next year’s budget. Councilor Lloyd Snook questioned one of them related to a 2013 small area plan known as the Strategic Investment Area. “One example would be that we’re suggesting another $200,000 for this coming year and three years beyond that for the [Strategic Investment Area] immediate area implementation,” Snook said. “And that balance in that account is over a million and has been as far as I can tell over a million dollars for quite a while.”Alex Ikefuna, the interim director of the Office of Community Solutions and former director of Neighborhood Development Services, said that balance has been used to pay for a $228,000 study of a form-based code for the area. Nolan Stout reported in the February 4, 2020 Daily Progress on the current Council’s decision to put that plan on hold indefinitely. Ikefuna pointed to one example of how the funding in the account will be used.“We have a Pollocks Branch pedestrian bridge which is currently being finalized for construction,” Ikefuna said. “There are several other project within the SIA that consume that balance.”One of them is a project to upgrade the streetscape on Elliot Avenue in an area where dozens of new homes have been built in the Burnet Commons area. The public housing site at South First Street is also expanding in residential density. Ikefuna also said the SIA fund could also be used for additional costs that may be incurred at Piedmont Housing Alliance’s redevelopment of Friendship Court. “Part of the Friendship Court project includes infrastructure improvement because they have to break up that neighborhood and then integrate that into the city’s grid,” Ikefuna said. “And they may have a cost overrun.”Council approved $5.5 million for the project in October 2020. (read my story)The current year’s capital budget allocated $2 million in cash for the line item of “Friendship Court Infrastructure Improvements” as well as $394,841 for Phase 1 and $750,000 for Phase 2. The draft five-year capital plan anticipates spending $2.5 million on Phase 2 in FY23, and a total of $3.25 million for phase 3 and $4.5 million for Phase 4. Ikefuna also said there’s a project called the Elliott Avenue Streetscape for which a design is almost complete. Snook said Council is not given information about what any of these plans are. “I assume somebody has a plan but it’s not been revealed to us,” Snook said. “I look at the next item. Small area plans. We’re putting in another $100,000 in and the balance of the project is $496,000.” Outgoing City Councilor Heather Hill had one suggestion for where that funding could go. In July 2020, Council chose to proceed with a Smart Scale project over the opposition of some nearby residents and businesses. (July 22, 2020 story on Information Charlottesville)“The Grady / Preston / 10th intersection area related to one of the VDOT projects for Smart Scale funding was identified at that time as something we would want to have more planning around because there was a lot of resistance that there wasn’t a lot of community engagement when that proposed plan was coming to fruition,” Hill said. According to the application for that project, the preliminary engineering phase will not begin until December 2025. There is no design for the Smart Scale project, which was funded on a set of parameters. “Preston Avenue will be realigned to create a consolidated intersection at Preston Avenue / Grady Avenue / 10th Street,” reads the application. “New sidewalks will be constructed throughout the project limits.”Hoping for a sales tax referendumSeveral commissioners expressed concern about the enormity of the school reconfiguration project. The draft plan shows $2.5 million in FY23 and $72.5 million in FY24. Hammill has previously said the money needs to be in place when a contractor is hired for new construction and renovation of Buford Middle School. The school project has not yet come directly before the Planning Commission. “The amount of that project is the entirety of the five-year [capital] FY2017 budget,” Stolzenberg said. “It’s this elephant in the room but it does seem like Council and the School Board have approved the project.” The idea of a dedicated one-cent sales tax increase has been floated to be dedicated funding for the project, but the General Assembly will have to approve a bill allowing Charlottesville voters decide on whether to impose it.“I really, really hope that if we go through with it that the sales tax comes through and frees us from this burden,” Stolzenberg said. Later in the meeting, Commissioners discussed several potential recommendations. One was whether to recommend increasing the amount for affordable housing. Here’s what’s in the proposed CIP. $3 million for the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority in FY23, and $9 million in the out yearsA base of $925,000 a year into the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund $900,000 a year to the CRHA to administer additional housing vouchers $2.5 million for the second phase of Friendship Court In March, Council adopted an affordable housing plan that set an ambitious spending target for each year, as noted by Stolzenberg. “It’s recommendations are pretty clear,” Stolzenberg said. “Ten million a year. $2 million are tax relief. A million to administration. So it’s really $7 million in direct subsidy and that’s all on page 49 of the plan for reference.” Here’s what the PC’s recommendations are:Reduce funding for the 7th Street parking structure funding to the minimum amount necessary to satisfy Charlottesville’s commitment to provide parking for Albemarle County per a 2018 agreement related to the joint General District Court that will be under construction.Find more more funds for the line items of tree planting, new sidewalks, and bicycle infrastructure, and hazardous tree removal. Reduce funds going to the line item for economic development strategic initiatives, small area plans, and Strategic Investment Area implementationFully fund the Stribling Avenue sidewalk project that Southern Development has agreed to pay upfront for as part of a rezoning that Council will consider in early 2022.Explore ways to add enhancements to the Drewary Brown Bridge to honor the Bridge Builders, potentially using a portion of funds for the West Main Streetscape. Increase budget for Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund and find ways to fund housing requests that were requested but not included in the draft budget, possibly directing any budget surpluses for this purpose. On Monday, City Council will hold first of two readings on a proposal to reallocate the $5.5 million surplus from FY21 to employee compensation and bonuses. They’ll also consider the transfer of $6.7 million in cash from a COVID reserve fund into the Capital Improvement Plan Contingency Fund. (staff report) This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 14, 2021: UVA announces three sites for affordable housing projects; Rivanna Conservation Alliance issues latest water quality report

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 18:57


Welcome to the antepenultimate Tuesday of 2021, also doing business as the 348th day of the year. This is the 294th installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. There are many more to come in the future due to the certainty that where will be items to write about far into the future. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs.Charlottesville Community Engagement needs fuel in the form of new subscriptions, paid or unpaid. Sign up today to keep this going! On today’s show:The Regional Transit Partnership ponders a potential future as a regional transit authorityThe University of Virginia picks two sites in Albemarle and one site in Charlottesville on which to build affordable housing The Rivanna Conservation Alliance publishes its 2021 water quality reportRegional broadband expansion projects nets $79M in state fundingIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out:Winter is here, and now is the time to think about keeping your family warm through the cold Virginia months. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!UVA Housing initiativeThe University of Virginia has announced three sites upon which it will work with a developer to build affordable housing units, two of which are in Albemarle County. They are:The low-density Piedmont housing site on Fontaine AvenueThe corner of Wertland and 10th StreetProperties at the North Fork Research Park President Jim Ryan made the announcement this morning in a written statement.“Economic growth over many decades has had a profound effect on housing in the Charlottesville-Albemarle community, and we are committed to working with community partners to create more housing intended for local workforce and community members who have been priced out of the local housing market,” Ryan said. “We believe these sites may be suitable for affordable housing, to potentially include mixed-use development.”J.J. Wagner, UVA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said these sites were selected in part because they were not in any other strategic plan. There’s a website where people can submit feedback. (website) According to a press release on UVA Today, Piedmont would likely be completely redeveloped except for an existing structure. The Piedmont property is on the north side of Fontaine Avenue and is within Albemarle County. UVA owns this site outright. The University of Virginia Foundation purchased 1010 Wertland Street from developer Keith Woodard in February 2017 for $4 million, which was well over the $1.85 million assessment for that year.  That 0.4 acre property is currently occupied by an apartment complex.  The foundation also owns two other properties at this corner, one of which is currently vacant. The North Fork Research Park currently does not have any residential units. This past March, the foundation issued a request for proposals for a firm to help rezone portions of the property to Neighborhood Model District zoning. “Coordination with the UVA Affordable Housing Task Force will be required,” reads the RFP. Existing leases at both Piedmont and 1010 Wertland Street will be honored for their duration. UVA or its foundation will donate the land though a ground lease and will not contribute any funding to the projects. The next step is for the UVA Foundation to issue a request for qualifications for potential builders. Initial work for the project was conducted by the firm Northern Urban Real Estate Ventures. That company is now working with the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority on a master plan for sustainability. These three sites are the only ones under consideration at this time. UVA spokesman Brian Coy said they will work with the selected firm to meet the goal of building between 1,000 and 1,500 units. Broadband expansion The Thomas Jefferson Planning District has been awarded a $79 million grant from the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative for a project to expand broadband to nearly every home across a 13-county area. Governor Ralph Northam made that announcement yesterday as part of a $722 million funding package for similar Internet expansion meetings across the Commonwealth. The TJPDC was the lead applicant for the RISE project, which stands for Regional Internet Service Expansion. Several localities including Albemarle are contributing a total of $33.5 million as a match for the public-private partnership involving Firefly Fiber Broadband, the Rappahannock Electric Cooperative, and Dominion Energy. Over the next three years, more than 5,000 miles of fiber will be installed across an area that spans from portions of Campbell County to the south to Goochland County to the east to Greene County to the north. In all, an additional 36,283 homes will be connected. They will then ne able then purchase Internet from Firefly Fiber. TJPDC’s award is the third largest in the state. (read the grant application) (Governor’s press release) Avon Street DevelopmentTonight, the Albemarle Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on a rezoning for a planned residential district in the 1800 block of Avon Street Extended. Andy Reitelbach is a senior planner with the county.“It involves a request to rezone two parcels of land on Avon Street right south of Avinity,” Reitelbach said. “The two parcels together total about 3.6 acres and the applicant is requesting a maximum of 85 two-family and multifamily resident units.” Reitelbach made his comments at the 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee from November 18. So did Kelsey Schlein with Shimp Engineering, the firm taking the project through the review process. “It’s designated urban density residential in the Comprehensive Plan so at 24 dwelling unit per acre with a maximum density on the property, we’re within the recommended density range for urban density residential,” Schlein said. Schlein said there will be a mix of housing types with triplexes, quadplexes, townhomes, and multifamily units. None of the buildings will exceed three stories. She noted that the county has adopted a corridor study to make the area more hospitable to people on bikes or on foot. (read the study)“Since there is an existing sidewalk in front of Avinity that kind of extends in front of the elementary school, we’re proposing to continue that network,” Schlein said. “However, we’ve provided enough right of way for a multi use path improvement so if there’s ever a comprehensive reimagining of the pedestrian network on the [east] side of Avon Street, this application will have provided the right of way for that.” Some members of the 5th and Avon CAC expressed concerns about traffic, the lack of a playground, and the possibility the application did not include open space. The Planning Commission meets virtually at 6 p.m. tonight. (meeting info)New look for tourism websiteThe quasi-government entity charged with marketing the region to tourists has updated their website. The Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau launched an refreshed version last week of visitcharlottesville.org. The designer is a firm called Tempest as we learn in a press release.“In addition to better serving visitors and industry partners, the new website will also reduce costs for the CACVB, in anticipation of a significant budget decrease projected for Fiscal Year 2023,” reads the release. “The reduction in budget for the upcoming fiscal year is a direct result of decreased transient occupancy tax collection from local lodging properties, due to the impacts of COVID-19.” The Bureau is governed by a Board of Directors that currently includes two members of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and two City Councilors. In October, the CACVB Board discussed reducing that to one elected official from each locality in favor of more representatives from the hospitality industry. For more, read Allison Wrabel’s October 25 story in the Daily Progress. For more on the hospitality industry, read a story from me from October 30 on the archive site Information Charlottesville.  The CACVB Board next meets on December 20. *General Assembly 2022With Republicans in control of the House of Delegates next year, that means Delegate Rob Bell (R-Albemarle) will chair a major committee. Yesterday, incoming House Speaker Todd Gilbert (R-Woodstock) assigned Bell to chair the Courts of Justice Committee and made five other appointments. (release)Delegate Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) will chair Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural ResourcesDelegate Jay Leftwich (R-Chesapeake) will head General LawsDelegate Bobby Orrock (R-Caroline) will chair Health, Welfare, and InstitutionsDelegate Kathy Byron (R-Bedford) will head Labor and CommerceDelegate Terry Austin (R-Botetourt) will chair Transportation. RCA reportThe Rivanna Conservation Alliance has issued its annual stream health report based on water quality monitoring from 2018 through 2021. Based on their data, the number of impaired streams increased. (read the report)“The percentage of our sampled streams that failed to meet water quality standards for aquatic life grew from 68 percent in last year’s report to 82 percent in this one,” reads the report. However, the document acknowledges difficulty in collecting data in 2018 and 2019 due to heavy rain events that scoured stream beds and banks, as well as difficulty collecting data during the pandemic. “Most notably, seven of the nine sites that moved from an assessment of very good or good down to fair were affected by unusually large hatches of black fly larvae that reduced biodiversity in our samples,” the report continues. Another item of note in 2020 is the completion of a 15-year study on the long-term effects of large-scale water quality improvements such as stream restoration, planting of buffers along streams, or upgrades to wastewater treatments plants. That’s based on looking at all 50 monitoring sites and finding that those that improved were close to some form of improvement. More shout-outsYou’re listening to Charlottesville. Community Engagement. Let’s continue today with two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!Regional transit authority?It has been some time since I’ve had an update on transit issues and now is the time to do so. Earlier this month, the members of the Regional Transit Partnership got an informal recommendation from a consultant that it may be time to move from an advisory body into a decision-making body that can raise its own funds. Before we get into all of that, though, there is still time to take two surveys to get your input on the Regional Transit Vision for the Charlottesville Area. That’s a project being led by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District to “evaluate transit service” in the region in order to “establish a clear long-term vision for efficient, equitable, and effective transit service.” One survey is on transition visioning and the other is an interactive map that asks the question: “What are the long-term transit needs for the Charlottesville region?” “You’re able to kind of sort of pinpoint on a map some issues or wants or desires regarding transit,” said Tim Brulle, a project manager for the vision who works for the firm AECOM. “We are using the public survey as part of our main avenue for that public feedback right now.” The project is being funded by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation with additional funds from the city of Charlottesville and Albemarle County. Albemarle County is conducting its own separate study, and Charlottesville Area Transit has pending route changes that have not yet been implemented. On December 2, 2021, the Jefferson Area Regional Transit Partnership got a status update on the studies, beginning with the Regional Transit Vision. As of that date, only about a hundred and thirty people had responded. (watch this meeting)Also as part of the meeting, Scudder Wagg of the firm JWA briefed the partnership members on the fact that many other transit systems in Virginia are regional. In this community, there are three major transit systems in Jaunt, Charlottesville Area Transit and the University Transit Service. Wagg suggested a reorganization across multiple communities that could yield more funding for expansion. “If you are to think about a regional funding source and a regional funding agency, then you would start to need to think about this on more of a regional scale,” Wagg said. “That’s where we want to help you consider how you might address that.”Wagg said the combined operating budgets of CAT and Jaunt are around $16 million, with about half of that funding coming from local sources. He suggested the total amount could increase if the community took steps to create an authority which can issue bonds. Wagg said three other regions in Virginia have managed to create authorities to expand transit and fund other transportation improvements. “Northern Virginia is using a combination of a sales tax, a grantor’s tax, and bond proceeds,” Wagg said. Legislation passed the General Assembly in 2009 to allow creation of a Regional Transit Authority, but a bill to allow a local referendum on a one-cent tax increase did not pass that year. According to the legislation, the authority could expand to include Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa and Nelson counties. (take a look)In the next General Assembly, Charlottesville is seeking a referendum for a one-cent sales tax for the purposes of funding the reconfiguration of the city’s schools. The director of Charlottesville Area Transit would encourage elected officials to pursue additional sources for funding through an authority. “This is an avenue we do need to explore and consider seriously to make sure that this  happens  eventually in the next three to five years,” Williams said. Albemarle Supervisor Diantha McKeel said the point of the Regional Transit Partnership was to prepare for an eventual next step.“When this Regional Transit Partnership, the intent was for it to be the first step in working towards an authority,” McKeel said.Becca White, director of Parking and Transportation at UVA, said the University Transit Service serves a very small footprint as a “last mile” service to relieve congestion and to shuttle people from parking lots. However, she said there are some portions of the city covered, including Fontaine Avenue and Ivy Road. The members of the Partnership informally directed Wagg to base the next set of potential scenarios for expanded service based on a theoretical $30 million budget.“We’ll have two scenarios,” Wagg said. “We’ll have maps showing where would routes go, how frequently, all of that sort of stuff. And then what would the outcomes of some of those things be in terms of how many more jobs could people in Greene County reach in an hour by transit or how many more people would have access to different kinds of transit services in different places?”A second round of public engagement for the Regional Transit Vision will begin early next year and the study is to be completed by the summer of 2022. Want to help influence it? Fill out those surveys! Resources for Regional Transit Vision Plan: A stakeholder meeting was held on October 7 and around 30 people attended (watch the video)A public meeting was held on November 18 and 20 members of the public participated (watch the video) (view the presentation)A land use assessment was produced by the consultantsA transit propensity technical memo was also produced by the consultantsSpecial thanks to Jenn Finazzo for recording some of the voice work today. Very much appreciated! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Problematic Women
Nuggets of Life Advice From Our Role Model Kay C. James

Problematic Women

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 34:51


Former Heritage Foundation President Kay C. James says her life “is a model for what can happen in this country with opportunity and seizing the day.” As a child, James lived with five siblings in the housing projects of Richmond, Virginia. Her father struggled with alcoholism and was absent from her life. Despite the challenges she faced, James went on to become the spokeswoman for National Right to Life. She later served as secretary of the Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources under then-Gov. George Allen and as director of the U.S. Office of Personnel Management for then-President George W. Bush.Ultimately, James became president of The Heritage Foundation, one of the world's largest and most influential think tanks. (The Daily Signal is Heritage's multimedia news organization.)Before James left her role as Heritage's president Nov. 30, the “Problematic Women” podcast sat down with her. We asked her to share some wisdom with the rising generation of leaders and to describe what she thinks the future holds for our nation. Enjoy the show! See acast.com/privacy for privacy and opt-out information.

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 13, 2021: UVA committee briefed on progress of Emmet-Ivy Corridor, another learns about Karsh Institute of Democracy

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 15:23


The word penultimate means “the one before the last.” But what about the one before that one? For this is the third to last Monday of 2021, and it feels there should be a better way of saying that. In any case, this is the first edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement for the third to last week of the year. That’s twice we’ve needed that word in this newsletter so far. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs, here again to bring you information about the area even if not every word is precise.Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.On today’s show:An update on the Emmet-Ivy corridor and sustainability efforts from the University of VirginiaThe new Dean of the School of Architecture and the director of the Karsh Institute of Democracy introduce themselves to a Board of Visitors panel More on the search for a corporate-appointed City Manager for CharlottesvilleA COVID update and a few more bills are before the General AssemblyIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: Colder temperatures are creeping in, and now is the perfect time to think about keeping your family warm through the holidays. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!COVID updateThere have now been over a million reported cases of COVID-19 in Virginia since the beginning of the pandemic, and a total of 14,957 deaths. The seven-day average for positive cases is now at 8.7 percent. That number is a little higher in the Blue Ridge Health District at 8.9 percent. For most of the pandemic, the Charlottesville area has lagged behind the statewide number. There are 58 new cases reported in the Blue Ridge Health District today, but no new fatalities. The seven-day average for new cases in the state is 2,520 a day. RFP closingThe window closes tomorrow at 4 p.m. for firms who are interested in assisting the city of Charlottesville with interim management services until a new top official is appointed. The RFP issued on December 3 requires a firm to provide someone with at least ten years of municipal management experience to run the city on an interim basis. Two addendums to the proposal were made Friday. (read the proposal)This process is not without precedent in Virginia. The Town of Amherst hired the Berkley Group in 2017 to hire a former Pulaski County administrator to serve as interim manager. Peter Huber served for five months as part of the Berkley Group’s Executive Transition Assistance program.  Huber is now serving in a similar position in Alleghany County according to his LinkedIn profile. According to Berkley’s website, they’ve provided this service in dozens of Virginia localities, from the town of Abingdon to the town of Windsor. General Assembly 2022There is less than a month until the Virginia General Assembly convenes for the 2022 session. Several bills have already been filed, and the number coming in right now is low enough to report some of what’s currently in the legislative information system.Senator Mamie J. Locke (D-Hampton) has filed a bill calling for a Constitutional amendment granting the right for people convicted of felons to be able to vote upon release. (SJ1)Delegate James Morefield (R-North Tazewell) has filed a bill establishing a Flood Relief Fund using a portion of the state’s proceeds from Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative auctions. (HB5) Senator Travis Hackworth (R-Richlands) filed a bill that would terminate power of attorney for anyone convicted of acting against their client. (SB10)Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) filed a bill increasing the standard deductions for Virginia income tax for both single and married people. (SB11)Senator David Suetterlein (R-Roanoke) has another that would allow localities to issue refunds on excess personal property taxes. (SB12)Delegate Lee Ware (R-Powhatan) has filed legislation that would compel “accomodations providers” to provide more information to localities upon request in the collection of transient lodging taxes. (HB7)Sustainability and Emmet-Ivy updatesLast week, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors met, and the December 10 edition of this show featured some information. On Friday, Bryan McKenzie reported in the Daily Progress that the Board voted to increase tuition by 4.7 percent in the 2022-23 school year and 3.7 percent for the following year. Read his story for more details. On Thursday, the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting was a shorter one than usual, but members were briefed on several items of note. One related to UVA’s sustainability efforts. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA.“You’ll recall that the big audacious goal for sustainability is to be carbon neutral by 2030 and fossil-fuel free by 2050,” Sheehy said. “Overall our emissions are down by 44 percent over the last decade which is equivalent to about 160,000 tons of carbon.” However, that doesn’t include the carbon footprint of new buildings built at UVA during the period, though they are built to LEED certification according to Green Building Standards. Sheehy said UVA has to do more to meet its goals.“In order to reach our carbon neutrality goal by 2030, we need to reduce our current emissions by another 160,000 tons and probably another 36,000 related to new construction,” Sheehy said. Sheehy also briefed the Buildings and Grounds Committee on efforts to reduce single-use plastics in order to comply with an executive order from Governor Ralph Northam. She said it’s a University-wide effort. “The biggest challenge is actual single-use plastic water bottles which is why you now see aluminum water bottles used to the extent that we can get them,” Sheehy said. “One of the issues is supply-chain and quantity, particularly if you are at a football and tens of thousands of water bottles that are sold.” Sheehy concluded her presentation with an update on construction of the new Emmet-Ivy precinct, which will house the School of Data Science, the Karsh Democracy Institute, and a hotel and convention center. Utility work has been underway on the site of the former Cavalier Inn, which was demolished to make way for the future. “We expect to be complete with all the utility and road work that sits outside the construction fencing by the end of the first quarter of 2022,” Sheehy said. The south side of Ivy Road will also be altered with new retaining walls and a monumental staircase leading up to the International Residential College. “The foundation work for Data Science should start in early January with completion of that building in the fall of 2023,” Sheehy said. “The plan is the hotel should begin construction in the spring with completion in the fall of 2024.” Design work has begun for the Karsh Institute of Democracy. Höweler+Yoon is the architect. Emmett Streetscape newsThere was also news about the Emmet Street Streetscape, one of the first projects funded through the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale process. A design public hearing of the $12 million project was held in December 2019 and is being overseen by the City of Charlottesville. Alice Raucher is the UVa Architect. “They submitted their complete documents to VDOT which is one of the required steps in order to begin the negotiations for the right of way,” Raucher said. Appraisals are underway for the easements or property acquisitions needed for the project. Raucher had no timetable for when that might happen. The Emmet Streetscape runs from Ivy Road to Arlington Boulevard and includes a 10-foot wide multiuse path on the western side of the road. (read the brochure)In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign  an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!*Architecture and Democracy at UVAAfter the Buildings and Grounds Committee concluded on Thursday, the Academic and Student Life Committee met and heard from the new dean of the School of Architecture and the director of the Karsh Institute for Democracy.  First up: Malo Hutson took over as Dean of the School of Architecture at the beginning of the academic year. He previously was at Columbia University where he directed the Urban Communities and Health Equity Lab. Hutson said the study of architecture is focused on the public realm. “We’re focused on addressing some of the biggest issues of the world, ranging from climate change all the way to the importance of cultural landscape and heritage, to thinking about do you build with healthy materials and so forth and transportation,” Hutson said. Hutson said the School of Architecture has several priorities and values shared with the rest of the UVA Community. He said the four departments in the school are all focused on climate resilience and climate justice, as well as equity and inclusion. Hutson said faculty and staff have an eye on Virginia’s needs as they craft the Climate Justice Initiative. “We know that we are susceptible to storms and flooding all kinds of things that are going on and so how do we engage in a way from whether we’re talking about Northern Virginia to Hampton Roads to all the way in Southwest Virginia?”The Karsh Institute of Democracy exists to reflect on the same basic question. Melody Barnes is the first executive director of the new entity which was founded in 2018. She said democracy is in trouble in the United States and around the world, citing a CBS News poll from January.“Seventy-one percent of Americans believe that democracy in the United States is threatened,” Barnes said. “A more recent poll from just about a month ago, the Pew Research Center indicates that there are about 19 percent of Americans who believe that American democracy is still a role model for democracy in the world.”Barnes said the University of Virginia is well-positioned to take up the cause and the Democracy Initiative has built on the work. “We also believe that this is a moment that we have to do more and that we are well-situated to do more,” Barnes said. Barnes said the Institute will be public-facing and will seek to engage with the community around UVA. “We want to use this moment, we want to leverage the assets and resources that we have to develop solutions, best practices, and new ideas to address the very challenges I just mentioned,” Barnes said. This Institute’s mission is to “generate new ideas and share them with policymakers and citizens” but Barnes said the work doesn’t stop there.“But then we translate them and use diverse communications channels to push them into the public bloodstream,” Barnes said. “To engage policymakers, journalists, the private sector, the public and beyond so people can take those ideas up, they can be debated. They can become policy. They can become practice. They can start to shape the way that we think, talk about, and do democracy. Hopefully the best ideas get taken to scale.” Barnes said one idea may be to offer a prize related to a specific solution. For instance, the Aspen Institute offers $1 million for community college excellence. “We are thinking that a X Prize for Democracy in partnership with others and leveraging the assets of the University and all the knowledge that’s here could be a wonderful way to bringing greater attention to some specific challenges that are facing democracy,” Barnes said. Barnes said a democratic society will always face existential challenges. She said the Institute will be set up to take a long-term view towards curating conversations.“This will be the journey and an issue for the country I think for the life of the country,” Barnes said. “We will always be engaged in these battles and these debates.”  Stay tuned. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 10, 2021: Woolley takes job in Pennsylvania; Caution urged as Delta continues surge with Omicron spreading

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 13:41


There are two weeks until the next eve, but aren’t we always on the eve of something? Time never stands still, and neither does information. Data, facts, and anecdotes all swarm around at blistering speed, but it is possible to stand on the shore of the raging river and take stock, build a camp, and plan for the future. That’s kind of the point of Charlottesville Community Engagement, a newsletter and podcast that is also always on the move. I’m your host, Sean Tubbs. On today’s edition:The consumer price index rises with the increasing cost of energy leading the wayThe corporate owner of the Daily Progress outright rejects a takeover bid from a hedge fundThe UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee contemplates a new building name The city-manager-who-wasn’t takes a job in PennsyvlaniaUVA health officials provide information on the variant Omicron and urge continued vigilance and mask-wearingIn today’s shout-out, a shout-out for shout-outs! If you’re interested in getting information out in this spot, consider supporting Town Crier Productions by making a $25 contribution through Patreon! That gets you or your nonprofit organization four shout-outs a month! These can be for a non-profit, an event, or just a message you want to get out to the word! There are a few guidelines, but this is a great way to support this newsletter and podcast, and to get some eyes and ears on something you want to shout out. Contact me for more information, or just sign up at Patreon.com to learn more! Omicron updateIn another sign Virginia is experiencing another surge in COVID cases, the seven-day average for positive test results is 8.1 percent today, up from 7.2 percent a week ago. Today the Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,848 cases today for a total of 994,069 confirmed cases. The total number of COVID cases in Virginia will likely cross one million total cases over the weekend. “It’s nothing sort of tragic to think about those numbers particularly when you think about the number of hospitalizations and deaths, and the families that have been impacted by the life lost due to that when we have a tool box of tools that can be used and employed to prevent that,” said Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System. Today the Blue Ridge Health District reports 61 news cases and an additional fatality. The percent positivity in the district has increased to 8.6 percent. That figure was 6 percent a week ago. Yesterday, the Virginia Department of Health identified the first case of the Omicron variant somewhere in their Northwest region. The strain was first announced globally on Thanksgiving Day.“We know that it’s spread across and around much of the globe,” Dr. Sifri said. “All continents have cases of COVID except for Antartica and that it’s in nearly 60 countries last I saw.” Dr. Sifri said it’s still too early for sure, but for now it appears that Omicron may not be as cause severe cases of the disease despite news it may spread more easily. “I think that’s still very early data and something we need to take with a grain of salt,” Dr. Sifri said. Dr. Sifri said that early reports are that vaccines appear to have a level of protection against the Omicron strain, but it is diminished and not as robust. “The open questions are does that laboratory data really bear out in the real world, so that’s information that we need,” Dr. Sifri said. “The other question that’s too soon to answer is exactly how long that protection lasts.” Scientists are also studying the possibility that Omicron is more transmissible but that’s another open question until more data comes in. Dr. Sifri called the current wave in Virginia a resurgence of the Delta virus and is likely caused by more indoor gatherings. “So get vaccinated and importantly now, get boosted,” Dr. Sifri said. “We just talked about how the booster is for Omicron but really the booster is also very important for Delta. Remember that your antibody response and your ability to stave off infection after being vaccinated against Delta wears off.” Dr. Sifri said mask-wearing remains an essential tool in public settings to slow the spread. He also recommend people who feel ill should get tested as should people who are going to be heading to a family gathering for Christmas. As 2022 approaches, a new governor will take over in Virginia who may have a different position on masks and vaccines. There continue to be some people who called the entire thing a hoax. “I don’t hear from many of those people except when I’m taking care of them in the hospital and it’s usually in the past tense,” Dr. Sifri said. “‘I did not believe COVID was a big deal. I did not think COVID was a risk for me.’ And those are the people I see in the intensive care unit that are are struggling to survive COVID infection.”The next COVID numbers from the Virginia Department of Health will be out on Monday morning. Inflation upThe Consumer Price Index increased 0.8 percent in November, continuing a yearly trend towards higher costs across the country. Overall, inflation is up 6.8 percent over November 2020 before seasonal adjustments. Energy costs were up 3.5 percent with gasoline rising 6.1 percent. Food costs were up but at a much lower rate of 0.7 percent for food. According to a release from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, November’s annual increase of 6.8 percent matches October’s increase, and that had been the largest 12-month rise since June 1982. The energy index increased 33.3 percent over the past 12 months and the gasoline index increased 58.1 percent over the last year. That’s the largest increase since April 1980. The average price for natural gas has increased 25.1 percent over November 2020 and electricity has risen 6.5 percent over the same period.At the same time, the Bureau of Labor Statistics also reported that the average hourly earnings for all employees decreased 0.4 percent from October to November. That figure is down 1.9 percent year to year. According to a report released yesterday on the Work Experience of the Population, 26.4 million Americans experienced unemployment in 2020, up sharply from 12.9 million in 2019. Woolley hired (in PA)Never-to-be interim Charlottesville City Manager Marc Woolley has taken a job as the deputy executive director of Delaware County, Pennsylvania. That’s according to an article on Bloomberg Law. Woolley cited an unwillingness to face the city’s problems under an interim title. He told the publication that he would constantly be looking for another position in the face of pressure. Last Friday, Charlottesville’s procurement department issued a request for proposals to hire a firm to conduct administrative services on an interim basis. “The services… shall be provided by an individual who is either employed by or under contract with the Successful Offeror and who is approved by City Council,” reads the request for proposals. That bid process closes on December 14. The city issued an addendum to the RFP this morning in response to questions. Woolley would have made an annual salary of $209,102.40 and would have had a $500 a month allowance for a vehicle. We know now that there is one deputy city manager position vacant and several other departments are currently led by an existing employee in an “acting” capacity such as the city’s communications director and the head of information technology. The police chief position will not be filled until the firm is hired to provide interim city manager services. We’re also waiting to see what briefs will be filed in response to former City Manager Tarron Richardson’s federal civil rights lawsuit against Charlottesville City Council and others. (read the story)In today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that  jazz, and there’s no time like now to find a time to get out and watch people love to play. The Charlottesville Jazz Society keeps a running list of what’s coming up at cvillejazz.org. Sign up for their newsletter today. Lee says no to AldenThe owner of the Charlottesville Daily Progress and many of Virginia’s other newspapers is rejecting a takeover bid by a hedge fund. Alden Global Capital announced in mid-November that it would purchase shares of Lee Enterprises at $24. Lee Enterprises responded initially responded by invoking shareholder protections. Yesterday they issued a press release stating the price was too low. “After careful consideration with its financial and legal advisors, Lee’s Board determined that Alden’s proposal grossly undervalues Lee and is not in the best interests of the Company and its shareholders,” reads a news release.In a second release yesterday, Lee Enterprise reported revenue growth in their fiscal fourth quarter.  Contemplative Sciences Center namedThe governing body of the University of Virginia met this week, as did its various subcommittees. The Buildings and Grounds Committee had a light agenda that included recommendation to approve the name of a new building. Colette Sheehy is the Senior Vice President for Operations and State Government at UVA. “We’re recommending Contemplative Commons as the name for the building that will house the Contemplative Sciences Center,” Sheehy said. The building will be built on Emmet Street between the pond at the Dell and the buildings that house the Curry School of Education. The Contemplative Sciences Center’s mission is to “advance the study of human flourishing at all levels of education” according to its website. “This building is designed as a hub for academic, co-curricular and extracurricular activities, interdisciplinary collaboration and research, and engagement between UVA and the Charlottesville community,” Sheehy said. The Centers’ construction is funded in part by a $40 million gift in 2016 from Paul Tudor Jones and Sonia Klein Jones. The couple was also instrumental in the center’s founding in 2012. The committee also approved site guidelines and the concept for the expansion of the UVA Encompass Rehabilitation Hospital at Fontaine Research Park. The project will add 16,400 square feet and renovate 50,000 square feet of the existing hospital. I’ll have more from the Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting in an upcoming installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 9, 2021: Draft Congressional map shows Albemarle split between two House districts; Charlottesville continues to lose tree canopy

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2021 17:50


In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign  an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. Winter is here, but spring isn’t too far away. This is a great time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!On today’s show:Governor-elect Youngkin pledges to remove Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative Two mapmakers hired by the Virginia Supreme Court have laid out their boundaries in advance of public hearings Albemarle County Supervisors agree to dedicate more resources to monitoring blighted properties and enforcing rulesThe Charlottesville Tree Commission gets a first look at data showing a continue decline in tree cover in the cityThe Carter G. Woodson Institute celebrates forty years of research into the African diasporaCovid updateA quick look at COVID-19 numbers, which continue to an upward trend. Today the percent positivity increased to 7.9 percent and the Virginia Department of Health reports another 3074 new cases. That number includes another 100 cases in the Blue Ridge Health District. There are another three new fatalities reported in the Blue Ridge Health District today. RedistrictingAlbemarle County may be represented by two people in the U.S. House of Representatives if a map drawn under the direction of the Virginia Supreme Court is adopted. This fall, the first Virginia Redistricting Commission failed to reach consensus on new legislative maps for the U.S. House and the two houses of the General Assembly. That left the task to two special masters appointed by the Virginia Supreme Court. “These maps reflect a true joint effort on our part,” reads a memo written by Sean P. Trende and Bernard F. Grofman. “We agreed on almost all issues initially, and the few issues on which we initially disagreed were resolved by amicable discussion.” Interactive House of Representatives mapInteractive House of Delegates mapInteractive Senate mapIn their memo, the pair of Special Masters noted they ignored incumbents when drawing the map. In doing so, 7th District Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger would no longer be in the same district. They also noted that the district numbers might change. Under the Congressional map, northern Albemarle County would be in a district that stretches north to Loudoun County and the Maryland border. Charlottesville and southern Charlottesville would be in a district that stretches to the North Carolina and contains much of the Southside. Crozet would be split between the two districts.Under the House of Delegates map, Charlottesville and much of Albemarle’s urban ring would be in the 54th District and most of Albemarle would be in the 55th. This district would include the western portion of Louisa County and an eastern sliver of Nelson County. Greene would be in a district with half of Orange County, half of Culpeper County, and all of Madison County. Fluvanna would be in a district with Buckingham, Cumberland, and Appomattox counties, as well as the western half of Goochland. Under the Senate map, Albemarle and Charlottesville would be within the 11th District along with Amherst and Nelson counties, as well as the western portion of Louisa County. The rest of Louisa would be in the 10th, as well as all of Fluvanna County. Greene County would be in the 28th with all of Madison, Orange, and Culpeper counties. The two public hearings will be held virtually on December 15 and December 17. People who wish to comment should email to redistricting@vacourts.gov to notify the Court a day in advance of that desire. “The Court recognizes that the establishment of voting districts for the Virginia General Assembly and Virginia’s congressional representatives will have significant and lasting impact on every Virginian,” reads the notice for the public hearing. Written comments will be taken through December 20 at 1 p.m. RGGI withdrawal?According to multiple accounts, Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin told the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce that he will remove Virginia from an interstate compact that seeks to reduce carbon emissions through a cap-and-trade system. Youngkin called it a carbon tax and said he will issue an executive order to withdraw Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) in order to reduce energy costs for consumers. Since joining in July 2020, Virginia has received $227.6 million in proceeds from auctions with the funds designated for climate change mitigation efforts. Read Sarah Vogelsong’s story in the Virginia Mercury to learn more. (Youngkin pledges to pull Virginia from carbon market by executive order). According to a press release from the Hampton Roads Chamber, Youngkin said he will seek to eliminate the grocery tax, suspend the gas tax for a year, and lower taxes for veterans. Also yesterday, a recount in the 91st House District confirmed that Republican A.C. Cordoza defeated Democratic incumbent Martha Mugler in the November 2 election, though the margin of victory shrank from 94 votes to 64 votes. That gives the Republicans a 52-48 majority in the House of Delegates next year. Preservation awardsA community group that seeks to raise awareness of historic structures and preserve them has issued their annual awards and grants. Preservation Piedmont offered three small grants to the following groups. All copy below comes from them: ● The Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society, for their project to restore and keep active the Hatton Ferry, a small historic ferry across the James River. ● Burley Varsity Club, for the publication of Unforgettable Jackson P. Burley High School, a book about the history of Jackson P Burley High School, built by Charlottesville and Albemarle to provide a modern high school for its African American communities and known for its superlative athletic teams and academic accomplishments. ● Friends of Gladstone Depot (with assistance from the Nelson County Historical Society), for their efforts to move the Gladstone depot to a new site and repurpose the facility as a community center. There were seven community awards. Here are six of them. ● A Special Recognition Award to the University of Virginia, for thoughtful community engagement in the development of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers.  ● An Adaptive Reuse Award to Armand and Bernice Thieblot, owners of the Quarry Gardens at Schuyler, for their dedication to adaptive reuse of the Quarry Gardens, and for making it available to the public. ● An adaptive Reuse Award to The Claudius Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel Foundation and Allen Hale, for their efforts to preserve and make publicly available one of the great engineering feats of the world, the Blue Ridge Railroad Tunnel. ● A Preservation Award to owners Tim Mullins and Tara Crosson, and builder Craig Jacobs, for thoughtful rehabilitation of an important Albemarle County structure, Findowrie (2015 C-Ville Weekly article). ● A Design Award to Charlottesville Quirk, LLC, for the Quirk Hotel's sensitive infill development on Charlottesville's West Main Street. ●The Martha Gleason Award goes to a member of the community who has exhibited sustained dedication to advocating for our community. This year the award went to Jean Hiatt for her role as a founding member of Preservation Piedmont, service on the Board of Architectural Review,  and for contributions to oral histories and to the book Bridge Builders, and her active involvement with neighborhood associations and preservation advocacy. ”Finally, something called Charlottesville Community Engagement was honored for some reason. I can report the award is a framed certificate and a tote bag. Institute celebratedBefore the break, the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and Africa at the University of Virginia celebrates its 40th anniversary today. The Institute is named after a 20th century historian who established the first Black History Week. Learn more about the Institute and the work accomplished over the past four decades in a piece by Anne Bromley in UVA Today. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. I’m told that a native plants database may be in the works? Tree canopy declining A contractor working on the calculation of the Charlottesville’s tree canopy has turned in the first set of data. Chris Gensic is with the city’s Parks and Recreation Department and he spoke to the Tree Commission on Tuesday. (watch the meeting)“We have lost some canopy,” Gensic said. “I think their average right now is in the 40 percent plus a little bit of change, not quite to 41 percent. I think the first one we did, we were in the 47 realm maybe in ‘08.” That number dropped further to 45 percent in 2015. (Urban Canopy Reports)Gensic said he is going through the data neighborhood by neighborhood to see how it compares to previous tree canopy reports.“Is it that the aerial photo is of a different quality?” Gensic asked. “We’re trying to keep these five-year increments pretty consistent in terms of how data is gathered and how its analyzed so we can say consistently that the loss or gain in trees is actual trees but not an anomaly in the data.”Gensic said a final report will be ready by sometime in January but could be available by the end of the month. He asked Tree Commissioners to take a look at the preliminary data to see what their interpretations are. The data collection was delayed by the pandemic. Fighting blightA year ago, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors asked the Department of Community Development to look into ways the county might be able to compel property owners to maintain their property to keep it out of blighted status. Jodie Filardo, the county’s director of community development, addresses supervisors on December 1, 2021. “We’re here today to seek Board input on whether to take measures to establish a new program under the Virginia Maintenance Code to continue with focused tools and measures using spot blight abatement,” Filardo said. Priority number six of the county’s strategic plan is to “revitalize aging urban neighborhoods.”Filardo returned to the Board on December 2 with options about how to proceed. But first, a definition. “Blighted property is defined as a structure or improvement that is dilapidated or deteriorated because it violates minimum health and safety standards,” Filardo said. Filardo said in the past year, the county has received six complaints about individual properties, and five of these have approved maintenance plans in place. One of these properties will be demolished. “If any of the properties with approved maintenance plans do not meet satisfactory progress toward compliance before you, they will be brought before you with the spot blight ordinance,” Filardo said. Amelia McCulley is the outgoing deputy director of community development. She briefed the board about options to expand the enforcement in the county under the Virginia Maintenance Code to items beyond health and safety, such as peeling paint, crumbling siding, and broken gutters. Staff is recommending a phased approach. “An option for the Board is to not go entirely responsive but to prioritize our aging urban neighborhoods by being proactive in one to two neighborhoods each year,” McCulley said. “Second point would be that we recommend a focused enforcement that prioritizes public health and safety and that we adopt a portion of the maintenance code and that would be Section 3 which focuses on the exterior of the structures.”McCulley said hiring new staff to fully enforce the VMC would not be cheap. The first year would cost half a million with an ongoing cost of $390,000 a year. Adoption of the full code would cost more.“Adoption of the full maintenance code with proactive enforcement countywide is estimated to have a first year cost of $888,001 and an ongoing cost of $679,382,” McCulley said. Supervisor Donna Price said she was not satisfied that the status quo was not sufficient. She had brought up three properties at the December 2020 work session and has suggested others since then.“And it’s clear that what we currently have been doing has not been able to fully address the blighted unsafe property situation,” Price said. “I think of the three I first brought up, pretty much the only thing that was achieved of significance would be that an abandoned minivan was removed from the property and some openings were boarded up. But other than that, the properties are still out there and just as blighted as they would otherwise appear.”Price said she did not favor adopting the full maintenance code in part due to the potential for unintended consequences and costs. Having heard that the Office of Equity and Inclusion has potential concerns, Price said some distinctions need to be made.“To me, one of the things that has to be taken into account and this ties into the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s participation in this process, is the distinction between those who cannot take care of their property primarily due to financial resources versus those who simply will not or refuse to do so,” Price said. “One of the things I am not interested in is providing a financial benefit to those who refuse to take care of their property.” Price leaned towards some form of adoption of the Virginia Maintenance Code. Supervisor Bea LaPisto-Kirtley suggested revisiting the topic in another year. She said thought the spot blight abatement might suffice for now. Supervisor Diantha McKeel also supported using the existing program and agreed with staff’s recommendation to hire a dedicated staffer for this purpose. That decision will come during the development of the FY23 budget and whether to spend $110,000 for this project. “I think the Virginia Maintenance Code sounds not like its not going to get us to where we really need to be, and it’s prohibitively expensive, it would appear,” McKeel said. McKeel said she wants a focus on rental properties in the urban areas that are owned by people out of the community. Supervisor Ned Gallaway said he would support eventually adopting the Virginia Maintenance Code. “We have to be doing something proactive no matter what phase we do to help people that are burdened to be able to get their houses back into a healthy and safe environment for themselves,” Gallaway said. “Maybe that’s the tack I take here. A proactive approach would identify that more quickly in my opinion.” Aside from the budget discussion on hiring the new staffer, the topic will return to the Board of Supervisors in a year.Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 8, 2021: Albemarle group briefed on climate action; redevelopment continues for Charlottesvile public housing sites

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 14:34


Welcome to day 342 of the year 2021. There are 23 days until the final day of the year. How many more years are left? Results will vary. How many more installments of Charlottesville Community Engagement will there be? The virtual magic eight-ball reports: Better Not Tell You Now. In either case, this is the installment for December 8, 2021, which is the 290th edition of the show so far. Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts, sign-up below for free updates. To support my work, consider becoming a paid subscriber! On today’s show:An update on finances and redevelopment at Charlottesville’s public housing authorityThere’s a few new bills pre-filed for the 2022 General Assembly Governor Northam releases a master plan to prepare for increased flooding along Virginia’s coast Albemarle’s Natural Heritage Committee is briefed on climate action efforts Let’s begin today with a subscriber-supported shout-out for another community event. Filmmaker Lorenzo Dickerson has traced the 100 year history of the libraries in the Charlottesville area, including a time when Black patrons were restricted from full privileges. The film Free and Open to the Public explores the history of library service from the Jim Crow-era until now. If you missed the premiere in November, there’s an online screening followed by a Q&A with Dickerson this Thursday at 7 p.m. Register at the Jefferson Madison Regional Library site to participate in this free event that’s being run with coordination from the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society. Visit jmrl.org now to sign up! COVID updateBefore the rest of the show, a quick update on COVID numbers, which continue to rise slightly as we move through the holiday season. The Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,850 new cases today, bringing the seven-day average for new cases to 2,374. The seven-day average for new positive test results is at 7.7 percent, up from 7.2 percent on Friday. There are 79 new cases in the Blue Ridge Health District, which has a percent positivity of 7.5 percent. Speaking of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library, a pilot project with the Virginia Department of Health has now distributed 1,086 home COVID-19 tests. These are rapid antigen at-home tests where people can use their smartphone to get results within 15 minutes. Visit the VDH’s website to learn more about the Supporting Testing Access through Community Collaboration program. Coastal resilienceThe Commonwealth now has a plan in place to address sea rise and other hydrological issues caused by a changing global climate. Yesterday outgoing Governor Ralph Northam was on hand in Hampton for the release of the Virginia Coastal Resilience Master Plan. “Climate change, rising sea levels, sinking land, and storms that are more frequent and more extreme are really causing increased problems in coastal communities,” Northam said. “What we call nuisance flooding is now a regular occurrence.”The master plan looks ahead as far as the year 2080 and concludes that the number of homes and roadways that will be exposed to extreme coastal flooding will drastically increase between now and then. The plan offers suggestions for what infrastructure is needed to withstand flooding as the geology of the coast changes in the presence of more water. The plan will be updated with additional data. “This plan has some seriously alarming data,” Northam said. “According to the science, over the next 60 years there will be places in Virginia that will no longer be habitable or accessible. They’ll be flooded temporarily or permanently. And while there are things we can do to protect our communities the plan also shows us that in some places we’re going to have to focus on moving people and structures out of harm’s way.” Rear Admiral Ann Phillips coordinated the plan in her capacity as the special assistant to Governor Ralph Northam for coastal adaptation. She was one of the speakers at this year’s Resilient Virginia conference and hers is one of several voices in a September 10, 2021 edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Take a look or a listen!The website devoted to the plan contains a database that allows people to look at threats as well as mitigation projects. (Virginia Coastal Resilience Web Explorer) Albemarle Climate ActionLast week, the Albemarle Natural Heritage Committee got an update on the county’s efforts to address climate change. The Natural Heritage Committee developed the county’s Biodiversity Action Plan, which became part of the Comprehensive Plan in July 2019. The Board of Supervisors adopted a Climate Action Plan in October 2020. (watch the meeting)Gabe Dayley, Albemarle’s climate protection program manager, said there are a lot of areas of overlap between the two plans. “We have actions in the Climate Action Plan around promoting conservation easements, around outreach and education, as well as incentives to the general public as well as incentives to the general public as well as to landowners,” Dayley said. Other overlapping goals are to minimize fragmentation of land to preserve areas for wildlife that also can serve as carbon sinks. “You know a lot of the overlap here is between strategies for mitigation,” Dayley said. “In other words, reducing our impact or our contribution to global climate change but the county is also beginning a process to do climate resilience planning. That’s more preparing our community to hopefully be resilient and stay strong in the face of some of the climate changes that we know are coming no matter how swiftly the world acts at this point.”Dayley specifically pointed out goal 9 of the plan which is “develop strategies for biodiversity conservation during climate change.” He also briefed the NHC on the county’s 2018 Greenhouse Gas Inventory. Take a look at a story from September 10 for more information. Dayley told the Natural Heritage Committee that development of the inventory included a new tool that analyzed forest cover in Albemarle. “We found that somewhat to our surprise that there’s actually a lot of carbon sequestration in trees and forests across the county,” Dayley said. “So there’s an important takeaway there which is the critical importance of maintaining forest and tree cover that we have in the county which I think is something that’s expressed as being important in multiple ways in the Biodiversity Action Plan.” To watch the rest of the conversation, take a look at the full meeting of the group. I’ll have information about Charlottesville’s tree canopy in the next installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement. More pre-filed billsBefore the break, a few more bills have been filed in advance of the next General Assembly session. Delegate Scott Wyatt (R-Mechanicsvile) has filed a bill requiring school principals to report potential criminal acts by student to law enforcement. (HB4)Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) has filed a bill to make Virginia’s standard deduction for income taxes equal to the federal deduction. (SB7)Senator Petersen also filed a bill to permit hunting on Sundays (SB8)Senator Peterson also filed a bill related to eminent domain (SB9)Delegate James Morefield (R-North Tazewell) filed a bill to alter the portion of proceeds from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative that go to the Community Flood Preparedness Fund (HB5)The General Assembly convenes on January 12, 2022. That’s the 12th day of next year. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. Let’s continue today with two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, 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!Public housing updateThe Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners will have a work session Thursday night. They last met at a regular meeting on November 22 and got a series of updates. One was on the CRHA budget from Mary Lou Hoffman, the agency’s finance director. CRHA’s fiscal year runs from April to March 30. (financial statements through October 31, 2021) (watch the meeting)“We’re $517,000 ahead of budgeted at this point but that includes $644,000 worth of for all intent and purposes non-recurring money,” Hoffman said. That includes shortfall funding the CRHA was awarded in each of the past two fiscal years. Hoffman said one piece of good news is that the CRHA’s Paycheck Protection Program loan received near the beginning of the pandemic has been forgiven and won’t need to be paid back. The number of public housing units has been temporarily reduced from 376 to 324 units due to the renovation of Crescent Halls, which is also affecting the way the financial statements look. “It basically is shifting some of the costs that we had budgeted for Crescent Halls to the other properties and between now and the end of the year we will see an effect from that,” Hoffman said. A piece of bad news is an unexpected $17,567 payment in October to the Internal Revenue Service related to unpaid bills that were not known to CRHA staff until recently.“That was an IRS tax penalty that I was previously and totally unaware of,” Hoffman said. “It was assessed against CRHA for failing to timely file 1099s for the tax year of 2017.” Hoffman said these 1099s were related to the payment of vouchers to landlords and other vendors, and they were eventually paid.“I believe the minimum penalty was assessed which is $50 per 1099, so it’s around 340 or 350 1099’s,” Hoffman said. “It’s not only for our vendors but most of our landlords have to get a rent 1099.” Hoffman said part of the confusion stemmed from the CRHA having multiple mailing addresses including a one-time stay in City Hall. Headquarters have moved around a lot in recent years. After Hoffman’s presentation, executive director John Sales put the current year’s budget in a different light. Soon after the fiscal year began, there was a massive water leak at Crescent Halls that has affected the near-term. “Crescent Halls threw a curveball,” Sales said. “The changing of Crescent Halls, the redevelopment plan, drastically changed revenues for the housing authority. The plan included keeping Crescent Halls at least partially filled with adding voucher units which added an additional revenue for the housing authority.”But the damage at Crescent Halls has meant moving all of the residents out while the renovation continues. Those shortfall funds have helped make up the difference for now. As of November 22, Sales said tenants owed $92,000 in unpaid rent. That’s attracted the notice of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.“They ask us about it every other week,” Sales said. “We are currently working through the rent relief program to get funding and asking other sources as well to assist families that are delinquent.” Brandon Collins is the new redevelopment coordinator for CRHA and gave an update on planning for the second phase of redevelopment at South First Street. According to the CRHA website, the plan is to redevelop 58 existing public housing units into 113 new townhouse units and apartments. Collins said the CHRA has filed an application to change the financing structure.“The demo-disposition application and mixed-finance application have gone in,” Collins said. “It took a lot of doing to figure out the mixed-finance application but what we’ve landed on is phase two will have 20 public housing units, 38 project-based vouchers and 55 non-subsidized units.” Collins said CRHA is looking to see how they can get the rent for those 55 units to be as low as possible. “It appears we can get those units down pretty low,” Collins said.  A site plan has been submitted for the first phase of redevelopment at Sixth Street.“Building A is going to be there along Monticello and wrapping around the corner onto Monticello onto Sixth Street,” Collins said. “It will be four stories with 50 homes. It will have an elevator and parking underneath.” A master plan for the full site is being developed. Collins said some of the units will be set aside for homeownership. The Westhaven site will be the next future location of redevelopment with the intent to apply for Low-Income Housing Tax Credits in March of 2024. Resident planning initiatives will begin in earnest soon. As all of these developments continue, Collins said CRHA has to strike a balance to ensure it follows federal rules to limit the number of public housing units on site. “For those who don’t know there was a law passed that you can’t have any more public housing than you already had since October 1, 1999,” Collins said. The future of all CRHA properties will include a balance of multiple types of funding sources to keep rents low. Sales explained further about regulations of the U.S. Department of Urban Housing. “HUD will allow us to add more subsidized units to the site if we’re removing them from our housing-choice voucher portfolio,” Sales said. There’s a lot of complexity. If you’re interested, I recommend watching the meeting for a fuller explanation. The CRHA will take up their annual plan at their meeting on December 20. I wrote about the process in the November 18, 2021 edition of the show. You can read it on the archive site. Thursday’s work session begins at 5 p.m. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

VPM Daily Newscast
12/08/21 - Northam includes public safety pay raises in upcoming budget

VPM Daily Newscast

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 5:05


State and local law enforcement can look forward to a pay increase under Governor Ralph Northam's outgoing two-year budget proposal; Richmond City Public Schools became the first district in Virginia to award its teachers and staff collective bargaining rights on Monday; The Virginia Department of Health says it lacks the quote “clear statutory authority” to mandate COVID-19 vaccines for employees; and other local news stories.

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 606 (12-6-21): At the Freezing Point

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:36).Sections below are the following: Transcript of Audio Audio Notes and Acknowledgments ImagesA Question about Freezing Water and Animals Sources Related Water Radio Episodes For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.). Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 12-3-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of December 6, 2021.  This revised episode from January 2018 is part of a series this year of winter-relatedepisodes. SOUND – ~8 sec That's the sound of ice on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County, Va., during a January day in 2018.  The sounds set the stage for a freezing-water episode written for Virginia science students in early elementary school, that is, about kindergarten to third grade. You're about to hear two kinds of mystery sounds.  When you do, see if you can answer this riddle: How are the two kinds of sounds the same, but also different?  Here are the sounds. SOUNDS – ~10 sec If you guessed that both sounds were water being put into a glass, you're right!  But the first sound was water as a liquid, while the second was ice, or water frozen into a solid. Now here are two more kinds of mystery sounds.  Try again to guess what they are. SOUNDS – ~8 sec Those were sounds of liquid water flowing in a creek, followed by pieces of ice on the creek's edge breaking off and splashing into the flowing water.  Just like a freezer can turn liquid household water into ice cubes, winter weather can often stay below 32 degrees Fahrenheit long enough to freeze some of the water on land or in a pond, creek, river, or even the ocean.  And there are many words for different kinds of ice in those places, like anchor ice, flake ice, needle ice, pancake ice, and sea ice. Let's try one more pair of mystery sounds, this time about ice safety. SOUND – ~7 sec Any guesses about what you heard?  The first was small rocks bouncing on an ice-covered pond, but the second was that pond's ice breaking and sinking.  That's a reminder that thin ice can hold pebbles, but ice has to be solid and at least about four inches thick to hold people, and ice thickness can be different in different spots.  Ice is never 100-percent safe, according to natural resource experts from Minnesota, where they have plenty of experience with ice-covered water.  But even with thin ice, it's safe—and fun—to stand on the bank and see how far a pebble can bounce!SOUND – ~3 sec – Pebbles bouncing on ice-covered pond. We close with about 45 seconds of music for freezing water.  Here's “Ice Dance,” by Torrin Hallett, a student at the Yale School of Music.MUSIC – ~47 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 This Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 408, 1-15-18. The Claytor Lake ice sounds were recorded at the Sloan Creek inlet of the lake, near Draper in Pulaski County, Va., on January 6, 2018. The stream ice sounds were recorded at Toms Creek in Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., on January 11, 2015. The sounds of pebbles bouncing on an ice-covered pond and the sound of thin ice breaking were recorded at the Heritage Park pond in Blacksburg, Va., on December 28, 2012, and January 13, 2013.  Thanks to passer-by Sam for help in recording the sounds of rocks bouncing on ice. “Ice Dance” 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 in Episode 556, 12-21-20, on how organisms survive freezing temperatures. 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.“Chesapeake Bay Ballad” – used most recently in Episode 604, 11-22-21, on Canvasback ducks.“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 Episode 440, 10-1-18, on E-bird.“Lizard Lied” – used in Episode 514, 3-2-20, on lizards. “New Year's Water” – used in Episode 349, 1-2-17, on the New Year. “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.  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 Ice on Claytor Lake in Pulaski County, Va., January 6, 2018.Patterns in ice formed on a shallow drainage channel in Heritage Park, Blacksburg, Va., January 11, 2015Air pockets under ice on a drainage channel in Heritage Park, Blacksburg, Va., January 11, 2015. A QUESTION ABOUT FREEZING WATER AND ANIMALS All living things have water on their inside.  So, if a wild animal is exposed to freezing temperatures in winter, why doesn't the water inside its body freeze? Here are two possible answers.  For more information, please see references in the Sources section below. 1.  Some animals—birds and mammals—can generate their own heat, and they have fur, feathers, or other coverings to hold in the heat (like people have clothes).  Body fat also helps hold in heat. 2.  In many living things—for example, certain fish and frogs—the water-based fluids inside cells contain biochemicals that act as natural anti-freeze, preventing ice formation and damage to the cells. SOURCES American Museum of Natural History, ‘Three Phases of Water,” online at https://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/water-h2o-life/blue-planet/three-phases-of-water/. Margaret Waring Buck, Where They Go in Winter, Abingdon Press, Nashville, Tenn., 1968. Iowa State University, “How Woody Plants Survive Extreme Cold,” March 1, 1996, online at http://www.ipm.iastate.edu/ipm/hortnews/1996/3-1-1996/brr.html. Lake Superior-Duluth Streams.org, “Ice Terminology,” online at http://www.lakesuperiorstreams.org/understanding/iceterms.html. Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, “Ice Safety,” online at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html; see particularly “General Ice Thickness Guidelines,” online at https://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/thickness.html. Dan Tinker, “These Animals Don't Care That It's Freezing Outside,” December 14, 2013, National Wildlife Federation Blog, online at http://blog.nwf.org/2013/12/these-animals-dont-care-that-its-freezing-outside/. Phys.org, “Living organisms need antifreeze to survive in the cold,” February 18, 2013, online at https://phys.org/news/2013-02-antifreeze-survive-cold.html; and “Why fish don't freeze in the Arctic Ocean,” August 25, 2010, online at https://phys.org/news/2010-08-fish-dont-arctic-ocean.html. Brian Rohrig, “Chilling Out, Warming Up: How Animals Survive Temperature Extremes,” ChemMatters Online Oct.-Nov. 2013 (American Chemical Society), online at http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/education/resources/highschool/chemmatters/past-issues/archive-2013-2014/animal-survival-in-extreme-temperatures.html. VocabularySpellingCity.com:“Kindergarten Science Vocabulary,” online at https://www.spellingcity.com/kindergarten-science-vocabulary.html;“First Grade Science Vocabulary,” online at http://www.spellingcity.com/first-grade-science-vocabulary.html;“Second Grade Science Vocabulary,” online at https://www.spellingcity.com/second-grade-science-vocabulary.html;  and“Third Grade Science Vocabulary,” online at https://www.spellingcity.com/third-grade-science-vocabulary.html.The site also has vocabulary for other grade levels and other subjects. Sarah Zielinski, “Eight ways that animals survive the winter,” Science News (Society for Science & the Public), January 22, 2014, online at https://www.sciencenews.org/blog/wild-things/eight-ways-animals-survive-winter. For More Information about Ice Sounds NPR's Skunk Bear (science channel on YouTube), “The Star Wars Sound of Singing Ice,” 3 min./3 sec. video online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OC7_zpyqCrU. 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 “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject categories. Following are links to several other winter-related episodes, including episodes on some birds that reside in Virginia typically only in winter (listed separately).  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in late 2021 and early 2022; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes. Frost – Episode 597, 10-4-21. Ice on ponds and lakes – Episode 404, 1-22-18 (especially for grades 4-8).Ice on rivers – Episode 406, 2-5-18 (especially for middle school grades).Polar Plunge®for Special Olympics – Episode 356, 2-20-17.Snow physics and chemistry – Episode 407, 2-12-18 (especially for high school grades).Snow, sleet, and freezing rain – Episode 461, 2-25-19.Snow terms – Episode 300, 1-25-16.Surviving freezing – Episode 556, 12-21-20.Winter precipitation and water supplies – Episode 567, 3-8-21.Winter weather preparedness – Episode 605, 11-29-21.Water thermodynamics – Episode 195, 1-6-14. Bird-related Episodes for Winter Audubon Christmas Bird Count – Episode 294, 12-14-15.American Avocet – Episode 543, 9-21-20.Brant (goose) – Episode 502, 12-9-19.Canvasback (duck) – Episode 604, 11-22-21.Common Goldeneye (duck) – Episode 303, 2/15/16.Green-winged Teal (duck) – Episode 398, 12-11-17.Grebes (Horned and Red-necked) – Episode 233, 9-29-14.Loons – Episode 445, 11-5-18.Fall migration –

new york science society bay university agency music ice natural npr halloween earth state audio living college nashville frost surviving sound accent animals dark tech water web air index fall rain pond research ocean weather government education public chesapeake bay ohio chesapeake snow environment patterns body images green oberlin college va minnesota msonormal new year atlantic stream normal worddocument zoom donotshowrevisions citizens arial environmental times new roman calibri trackmoves trackformatting punctuationkerning saveifxmlinvalid ignoremixedcontent compatibility breakwrappedtables dontgrowautofit latentstyles deflockedstate latentstylecount latentstyles style definitions msonormaltable table normal donotpromoteqf lidthemeother lidthemeasian x none snaptogridincell wraptextwithpunct useasianbreakrules mathpr mathfont cambria math brkbin brkbinsub smallfrac dispdef lmargin rmargin defjc centergroup wrapindent intlim subsup narylim undovr defunhidewhenused defsemihidden defqformat defpriority lsdexception locked priority semihidden unhidewhenused qformat name normal name title name default paragraph font name subtitle name strong name emphasis name table grid name placeholder text name no spacing name light shading name light list name light grid name medium shading name medium list name medium grid name dark list name colorful shading name colorful list name colorful grid name light shading accent name light list accent name light grid accent name revision name list paragraph name quote name intense quote name dark list accent name colorful shading accent name colorful list accent name colorful grid accent name subtle emphasis name intense emphasis name subtle reference name intense reference name book title name bibliography name toc heading fahrenheit natural history conservatory teal special olympics oberlin colorful brant yale school signature wild turkey manhattan school scales freezing pebbles watershed transcript science news three phases virginia tech atlantic ocean natural resources american museum grades k american chemical society name normal indent name list name list bullet name list number name closing name signature name body text name body text indent name list continue name message header name salutation name date name body text first indent name note heading name block text name document map name plain text name e name normal web name normal table name no list name outline list name table simple name table classic name table colorful name table columns name table list name table 3d name table contemporary name table elegant name table professional name table subtle name table web name balloon text name table theme name plain table name grid table light name grid table light accent dark accent colorful accent name list table draper ar sa iowa state university blacksburg tenn msohyperlink runoff sections stormwater canvasback arctic ocean loons policymakers bmp heritage park new standard acknowledgment minnesota department virginia department cripple creek cumberland gap phys sols tmdl abingdon press polar plunge torrin virginia standards water center pulaski county space systems audio notes
Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 3, 2021: Sequencing underway for Omicron variant in Virginia; 112-unit apartment building planned for Stonefield

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 18:04


Friday’s come and go, but this one hasn’t yet. There’s still time to write out a few things about what’s been happening in and around Charlottesville in recent days. But we’d be better quick because the world we live upon will not stop turning.  Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported newsletter and podcast. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.On today’s show:Charlottesville hires two department heads and one from Albemarle gets a promotionAlbemarle’s Supervisors are briefed on the county’s stream health initiativeA campaign finance update for City Council and the Board of SupervisorsAn update on COVID-19 in VirginiaSome development news, a familiar new owner for Wintergreen, and USDA grantIn today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, WTJU 91.1 FM invites you to tune in next week for the annual Classical Marathon. It’s a round-the-clock celebration of classical music, specially programmed for your listening pleasure. Throughout the week there will be special guests, including Oratorio Society director Michael Slon; UVA professor I-Jen Fang; Charlottesville Symphony conductor Ben Rous; early music scholar David McCormick; and more. Visit wtju.net to learn more and to make a contribution. COVID updateA small surge of COVID-19 is under way in Virginia, with a seven-day positive test rating of 7.2 percent. That’s up from 5.9 percent on November 24. The Virginia Department of Health reports another 2,598 cases today, with the seven-day average increasing to 1,836 new cases a day. Sixty-five point four percent of the adult population is fully vaccinated and there is a seven-day average of 28,534 shots administered. Over 1.3 million Virginians have had a booster or third dose.In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are 67 new cases reported today, and the percent positivity is 6.7 percent. There are now confirmed cases of the Omicron variant in the United States. Dr. Amy Mathers is an associate professor of medicine and pathology in the University of Virginia Health system. She’s part of statewide efforts to sequence the various variants. “We’re contributing about 250 to 300 sequences a week,” Dr. Mathers said. “But we can only sequence what tests positive by PCR.” That means the rapid antigen tests do not collect the same biological information required for gene sequencing, which could limit efforts to identify the spread of the new variant. In the meantime, Dr. Costi Sifri urges calm while research is conducted. “There’s more that we don’t know about the Omicron variant than we do know about the Omicron variant,” said Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at UVA Health. “What we do know is that its a variant that carries a lot of mutations. More than 30 in the spike protein as well as 20 or more additional mutations spread across the genome.” Dr. Sifri said some of these mutations relate to greater transmissibility and infection rates, but the emergence of Omicron is not unexpected. He said time will tell the impact on public health. “It’s not surprising that we’re seeing it around the world at this point, in more than two dozen countries,” Dr. Sifri said. “What is the efficacy of vaccines against the omicron variant? We really don’t know right now. We have heard of breakthrough infections but of course we’ve heard about breakthrough infections with Delta as well.” Dr. Sifri said it appears vaccinations will continue to provide benefits and more information and time will help test that assumption. He said in the meantime the best thing to do is get vaccinated and to continue to practice mitigation strategies. “We are seeing an increase in cases and it’s important since we were just talking about Omicron to understand that right now, 99.9 percent of cases are due to the Delta variant,” Dr. Sifri said. “What we have been seeing this fall and now heading into the holiday is Dela.”The major difference between this holiday season and last year is the widespread availability of vaccines. Dr. Mathers urged anyone who is ill to take precautions. “If you’re symptomatic, get tested,” Dr. Mathers said. “The only way we’re going to see emergence of new virus is to get tested. So following up exposure or symptoms with testing is an additional way to help limit the spread of this virus.Dr. Sifri said people who do get tested should limit contact with others until the result comes back. “Don’t go to work, don’t go to school, don’t go to holiday parties,” Dr. Sifri said. “If you’ve gotten tested, wait for your test result before you go out into the community.” New Charlottesville personnel Charlottesville has hired two people to serve as department heads. Arthur Dana Kasler will serve as the new director of Parks and Recreation and Stacey Smalls will be the new director of Public Works. Both positions have been open since September and were filled despite the transition at the city manager position when Chip Boyles resigned in October. Kasler comes to Charlottesville after serving as the director of Parks and Recreation in Louisville where he oversaw over 14,000 acres of parks, natural areas, and other services. According to a profile on Linkedin, he’s held that position since April 2019. Prior to starting work in Louisville, he was parks and recreation director in Parkland, Florida. According to the Lane Report, he’s also worked in Pittsburgh, Ponte Verde Beach in Florida, Kingsland, Georgia, and Athens, Ohio. Kasler takes over a position in Charlottesville in which he may oversee creation of a  new master plan for recreational programs in the city. Stacey Smalls recently worked as director of the Wastewater Collection Division in the public works department in Fairfax County. Smalls has been in that position since February 2016. Prior to that, she served in similar capacities for the U.S. Air Force, including serving as deputy public works officer for the Joint Base at Pearl Harbor. She’ll oversee a public works in Charlottesville that took on responsibility for transportation design from the Department of Neighborhood Development Services during the administration of former City Manager Tarron Richardson. Both Kasler and Smalls will start work on December 20. They join Deputy City Managers Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders, as well as NDS director Jim Freas, as relative newcomers to municipal government in Charlottesville. Albemarle personnel, development infoIn other personnel news, this week Albemarle County announced that planning director Charles Rapp will be promoted to Deputy Director of Community Development, succeeding Amelia McCulley who is retiring from the county after more than 38 years of service. Rapp began work in Albemarle in March 2020 after serving as director of planning and community development for the Town of Culpeper. A search for a new planning director is underway. Rapp’s immediate boss is Jodie Filardo, the director of Community Development Department. She’s been in that position since September 2019. This week, the Community Development Department sent out a notice for two site plans of note. One is to construct a 1,300 square foot addition at the North Garden Fire Department. Earlier this year, Supervisors approved a budget that includes five full-time staff at the station to be there during the daytime to improve response times in the southern portion of Albemarle County. In the second, the owners of Stonefield have put forth a site plan for a seven-story 112-unit apartment building in what’s known as Block C2-1. You may also know this as the intersection of Bond Street and District Avenue, two of the public streets created as part of the initial development of Stonefield. Republican House Majority confirmedThe Associated Press is reporting that a recount in Virginia’s 85th House District has reaffirmed a narrow victory by Republican Karen Greenhalgh over Democrat Alex Askew. The certified election results recorded a 127-vote majority for Greenhalgh. A panel of three judges oversaw the recount and found this morning that the certified results stand. A recount is still underway in the 91st district. That gives Republicans at least 51 seats in the next General Assembly. In the 91st District, Republican A.C. Cordoza has a 94-vote lead over Democrat Martha Mugler, though there is an independent candidate in that race. Incoming speaker of the House Todd Gilbert (R-15) issued a statement welcoming Greenhalgh to the Republican caucus. Campaign finance The final campaign finance reports are in this year’s elections, covering a period from October 22 to November 25. City Councilor-elect Brian Pinkston raised an additional $3,325 during that time, and spent $8,938.04, leaving a balance of $1,227.76. He’s also repaid himself $7,231.24 in loans. In all, Pinkston raised $115,095.77 in the campaign. (report)Fellow City Councilor-elect Juandiego Wade raised $5,265 during the final period and spent $2,702.86, resulting in a balance of unspent funds of $17,728. In all, Wade raised $101,806.45 during the campaign. (report)In Albemarle County, Samuel Miller District Supervisor-elect Jim Andrews raised an additional $250, spent $2,015.74, and ended the campaign with a balance of $17,515.74. In all, Andrews raised $38,366.77 during the campaign. (report)Jack Jouett District Supervisor Diantha McKeel raised $250, spent $1,783.07, and her end-of-year bank balance is $20,652.76. McKeel began the year with $14,971 on hand and raised $19,127.99 during the 2021 campaign. (report)Rio District Supervisor Ned Gallaway has not yet filed a report for this cycle and missed the deadline. In the first three weeks of October raised an additional $3 and spent nothing. He began 2021 with a balance of $7,293.28, raised $10,150, and had a balance of $14,806.40. All three Supervisors ran in uncontested races. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Rivanna Conservation Alliance is looking for a few good volunteers for a couple of upcoming events. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the RCA will team up with the James River Association to plant trees along the Rivanna River and Town Branch in the Dunlora neighborhood to serve as a riparian buffer. In all, they’re hoping to put in 9 acres of trees. On Sunday, the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon takes place, and the Rivanna Conservation Alliance is the beneficiary! They’re looking for people to help put on the race. Learn more about both events and the organization at rivannariver.org. Wintergreen ownerThe resort company that has been running Wintergreen now owns the Nelson County property. Pacific Group Resorts of Utah had been leasing Wintergreen since 2015 but finalized acquisition from EPR Properties in October. “PGRI now owns the real estate, lifts, and snowmaking systems at the [resort] in addition to the operating equipment which it previously owned through its operating subsidiaries,” reads the release. Pacific Group Resorts also owns several other ski areas, including the Ragged Mountain resort in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Albemarle stream healthVirginia and many of its localities are responsible for taking steps to improve water quality in the Chesapeake Bay. That includes Albemarle County, which is in the midst of an initiative to create policies to encourage, incentivize, or mandate the installation of vegetated buffers on the many tributaries of the James River. The Board of Supervisors was updated on the Stream Health Initiative on December 1. (materials)Kim Biassioli is the Natural Resources Manager in Albemarle County. She said the initiative is intended to advance the goals of the Climate Action Plan, the Biodiversity Action Plan, and the Comprehensive Plan itself. “Of course the focus of our work here today is on water quality and stream-health, but in protecting stream health and water quality, we’re likely to be providing so many other benefits for climate, for scenic value, for wildlife, for public health, and so on,” Biassioli said. This past summer, Supervisors asked staff to come up with more information about what it would take to fully adopt the Chesapeake Bay Preservation Act, which gives localities more options to enforce and require stream buffers. Albemarle is not within the Tidewater region as defined by the Act. “We found that full adoption is an extremely resource and time intensive option relative to the anticipated benefits that we feel might be received,” Biassioli said. The first proposal under consideration would reintroduce a requirement that property owners retain buffers by creating a stream overlay district. “And I say reintroduce because this language which was originally modeled after the original language in the Bay Act was in our water protection ordinance prior to 2013 but currently retention of stream buffers is required during a land disturbing activity,” Biassioli said. Biassiloi said this would not require property owners to expand existing buffers if they are not to the requirement established. The zoning overlay would establish a list of existing uses allowed in the buffer areas. Other ideas under consideration include a program to fund riparian buffers, more oversight of septic fields, and greater incentives for installing Best Management Practices for mitigating the effect of agriculture on the watershed. USDA climate change grantsFinally today, Virginia will receive $778,000 in grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture from the Rural Energy for America program. According to the USDA website, this initiative “provides guaranteed loan financing and grant funding to agricultural producers and rural small businesses for renewable energy systems or to make energy efficiency improvements.”Recipients are:Waverly RB SPE LLC  - $500,000 (4th House District)Zion Crossroads Recycling Park LLC - $139,671 (5th House District)Twin Oaks North LLC - $52,225 (6th House District)Railside Industries LLC - $21,424 (6th House District)Mill Quarter Plantation Inc - $64,680 (7th House District)Thanks to Resilient Virginia for pointing this out!Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

The Protectors
Season 4 | Melissa Robey Discusses Police / Community Relations & Governor Elect Youngkin | Episode 5

The Protectors

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 30:14


SPECIAL REPORT:  Melissa Robey of WE BACK BLUE joined the show to talk about the organization's origins, bridging the public and police divide, and the Toys For Tots drives across the area, including this weekend with Governor Elect Youngkin lending a hand.  Melissa also discusses ways that Gov. Elect Youngkin has reached out to law enforcement during the campaign, building coalitions.  WE BACK BLUE's mission is to give communities the opportunity to build trust and advocate for their police. We will support police initiatives working diligently to ensure departments across the country are well-equipped and safe to carry out their duty to protect and serve.TOYS FOR TOTS:  Chantilly, VA.  For the second year, We Back Blue will partner with the Virginia State Police and the Virginia Department of Transportation to collect toys for children in need. The event will be held on Saturday, December 4th from 12:00pm-4:00pm in the parking lot of the Target store in Chantilly, VA. All collections will go to Toys for Tots, whose primary mission is to “help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America's less fortunate children.” There will be a drive-through toy drop-off as well as the opportunity to take pictures with a cruiser, Marines in uniform, Santa, and other very special guests. We also partnered with a law enforcement family-owned coffee/cocoa truck, Roll Call Room Cafe's Mobile.  Toys for Tots has unfortunately seen a drastic reduction in donations. On average, they collect over 100,000 toys to be distributed to kids in need. This year they are in greater need, and we are going to do our part to help! Our goal is to raise awareness for this incredible event, while also helping to make up some of the shortfalls they've experienced due to the pandemic. Last year We Back Blue collected 500 toys, this year our goal is 1500 plus.Location: Target located at 14391 Chantilly Crossing Ln., Chantilly, VA 20151.www.webackblue.comSupport the show (https://www.patreon.com/theprotectors)

Charlottesville Community Engagement
December 1, 2021: Virginia's recycling rate increased in 2020; few details on next steps in city manager search

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 15:49


What’s another month in a year that’s already had eleven of them? Another turn of the earth, and each of us is another day closer to the solstice, the holidays, 2022, President’s Day, and so many more milestones that are worth noting somewhere. Perhaps not on this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement, which is intended to capture a few things that happened around the time of December 1, 2021. Charlottesville Community Engagement is a reader-supported publication. To ensure new posts come out as frequently as possible, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber!On today’s show:More details on what happens next in the top executive position in CharlottesvilleThe Albemarle Board of Supervisors seeks patrons for bills on photo-speed camera expansion and more Virginia’s recycling rate increased in calendar year 2020 In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out: The Rivanna Conservation Alliance is looking for a few good volunteers for a couple of upcoming events. On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., the RCA will team up with the James River Association to plant trees along the Rivanna River and Town Branch in the Dunlora neighborhood to serve as a riparian buffer. In all, they’re hoping to put in 9 acres of trees. On Sunday, the Rivanna Greenbelt Marathon takes place, and the Rivanna Conservation Alliance is the beneficiary! They’re looking for people to help put on the race. Learn more about both events and the organization at rivannariver.org. COVID updateThe Virginia Department of Health reports that the seven day average for new COVID cases has increased to 1,548 cases a day, and the seven-day percent positivity has increased to 6.7 percent. A month ago on November 1, the percent positivity was 5.5 percent. There were 746 more reported deaths in Virginia in the past month. The Blue Ridge Health District reports an additional 58 new cases today and the seven-day percent positivity is 6.1 percent. There were 26 reported COVID deaths in the health district in November. The Jefferson Madison Regional Library has distributed 631 rapid COVID tests in the past week as part of a pilot program with the Virginia Department of Health. Learn more at jmrl.org. Executive vacancyMarc Woolley will not start today as Charlottesville’s City Manager. Or any other day, for that matter. The former business administrator of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has opted to not take the position of running the city’s executive functions. The City Council met in closed session for over three hours yesterday to discuss the withdrawal. Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker addressed the public afterward to say she had known since before Thanksgiving. “On November 21, Mr. Marc Woolley reached out to me,” Walker said. “We had a planned meeting scheduled for early in the week that had been postponed to that day and he informed me that he for personal reasons would not be taking the job in the city of Charlottesville.”Walker said Council tried to get the notice of Woolley’s withdrawal out before the Thanksgiving holiday.“And we were unable to do that and we apologize to the community for that confusion but we did want to give more time than the notification that happened today,” Walker said. “So we have known for a little over a week and this was the first opportunity for us to get together to explore other options and kind of just brainstorm where we are and where we’re headed.” Councilor Heather Hill had a few more glimpses into what happens next.“Council is considering going into a contract with a firm for interim services,” Hill said. “We’re going to be working through with staff on what the best and most efficient process would be for that. We have made no decisions in that matter.”In the meanwhile, Deputy City Managers Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders will continue to serve with extended duties. Hill said more information about a search firm will be released in two weeks. City Councilor-Elect Juandiego Wade will be sworn into office at on December 15 at 9:30 a.m. on the City Courthouse steps. He’ll be sworn along at the same time as three members of the School Board. City Councilor-Elect Brian Pinkston will be sworn in on December 23 at 10 a.m. on the Courthouse. However, their terms do not officially begin until January 1. Solid waste planningThe recycling rate in Virginia increased in the year 2020, as reported by 71 planning units across the Commonwealth. Of the 11 million tons of municipal solid waste processed, 5.3 million were reported as recycled. “However, some planning units faced recycling challenges due to the COVID 19 pandemic, lack of recycling markets in their regions and difficulty in obtaining recycling information from private businesses,” reads the executive summary of a report generated by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. Of that 5.3 million tons, 3.9 million were classified as principal recyclable materials and 1.4 million were in the form of credits. Recyclable materials include: Paper, metal, plastic, glass, commingled materials, yard waste, waste wood, textiles, waste tires, used oil, used oil filters, used antifreeze, inoperative automobiles, batteries, electronics and other.Credits refers to: Recycling residues, solid waste reused, non-MSW recycled (includes construction and demolition material, ash and debris) and source reduction initiatives. Under Virginia code, localities or the regions they are within must develop a solid waste management plan. In this area, the Thomas Jefferson Planning District does that work on behalf of Albemarle, Charlottesville, Greene, and Fluvanna. The towns of Scottsville and Standardsville are also covered by the TJPDC which reports a recycling rate of 41.9 percent. Louisa County runs its own sanitary landfill and is its own solid waste planning unit. They report a recycling rate of 29.5 percent. The Lunenberg County solid waste planning unit reported a 78.8 percent recycling rate, the highest in the state. Lee County in Southwest Virginia reported the lowest at 10.4 percent. Virginia code requires localities to be above 15 percent. The report singles out Arlington County for improving the recycling rate by prohibiting glass from the single-stream recycling system. Instead, Arlington set-up five drop-off locations to ensure glass would not be contaminated by other materials. Over 1,429 tons of clean glass was collected. “The removal of glass from the residential curbside recycling program had the added benefit of boosting the overall value of a ton of the single-stream recycling significantly,” reads the report. To learn more about Arlington’s program, visit their website.On Thursday, the operations subcommittee of Albemarle’s Solid Waste Alternatives Advisory Committee meets.  On the agenda is an update on efforts to increase the market for glass recycling to attract interest from a processing company. I wrote about this topic back in January and will be interested in getting an update. (meeting info)See also:  Group seeks information from beverage producers on glass recycling, January 26, 2021You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement, supported in part by subscriber supported shout-outs like this one: The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign, an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. The leaves have started to fall as autumn set in, and as they do, this is a good time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!Legislative prioritiesThe General Assembly convenes six weeks from today. Across Virginia, local officials are seeking ways to get Delegates and Senators to carry specific bills. The Albemarle Board of Supervisors held a meeting on Monday to explain their three legislative priorities. County Attorney Greg Kamptner said the first is a request to allow localities to treat some violations of local ordinance with civil penalties as opposed to being criminally punished. Albemarle wants to be able to establish a schedule of fines that exceed what can be charged now. “The initiative would authorize a schedule of civil penalties of up to $500 for the initial summons, with increasing amounts of up to a total of $5,000 in aggregate under the same operative facts,” Kamptner said. Kamptner said the current penalty of $200 for the first violation and $500 for additional ones is too low.“Those amounts are unchanged since 2007 and the county has found that some zoning violators see those payments as the cost of doing business which prolongs the enforcement process for those localities that have opted to pursue civil penalties,” Kamptner said. Both Delegate Sally Hudson (D-57) and Delegate Rob Bell (R-58) and expressed interested in being a sponsor for that legislation.Albemarle’s second legislative request is to expand the use of photo-speed cameras to enforce violations of the speed limit. The General Assembly passed legislation in 2020 that allow the cameras to be used in highway in highway work zones and school crossing zones. (HB1442) (current state code)“A photo-speed monitoring device is equipment that uses RADAR or LIDAR in speed detection and produces one or more photographs, microphotographs, video tapes, or other recorded images of vehicles,” Kamptner said. “The enabling authority is self-executing. No ordinance is required and local law-enforcement offices can have the devices installed in those zones.”Kamptner said Albemarle would like to be able to use the cameras on rural roads where speeding has been identified as an issue. “The roads would be selected by the governing body based on speeding, crash, and fatality data,” Kamptner said. Delegate Bell said he would want to talk to someone at the Albemarle Police Department before deciding whether to carry the bill. “I’m reading what is drafted and it’s not exactly what is being described by some of the speakers for what they are looking for,” Bell said. Both Delegate Hudson and Delegate Chris Runion (R-25) both said they would also like to hear from law enforcement. Hudson had concerns. “Historically sometimes automated enforcement devices have been disparately positioned throughout communities and might appreciate some language or guardrails in the bill that would require some kind of public analysis about where they’re going to go,” Hudson said. Albemarle’s third legislative request would be to require agricultural buildings at which the public will be invited to conform to the state’s building code. Currently there is no inspection process or minimum standards for barns and other structures where large events might be held. “The use that would be subject to requirements as such having an automatic fire alarm system, emergency lights and exits, panic hardware at all required exit doors, portable fire extinguishers, and a maximum occupancy of 200 persons,” Kamptner said. Albemarle County cannot currently regulate construction of such buildings due to state law, but a 2018 review of building codes for agritourism and businesses suggested such minimum standards would be beneficial to public safety in an era when many of these buildings are used for breweries, wineries, and other destinations. (read the review)“Many people who go to these properties have no idea that these buildings are not expected and that they don’t meet the building code,” said Supervisor Ann Mallek. Delegate Hudson said she would be willing to request the Division of Legislative Services prepare a draft based on this request. Delegate Chris Runion (R-25) had some concerns about unintended consequences of the requirements and suggested there may be another way to address the issue. “The other area I think is probably a new area of conversation is the limit for 200 people,” Runion said. “I thought there was a limit at 300 previously Also at Monday’s meeting: The Thomas Jefferson Planning District puts together a regional legislative program. TJPDC Deputy Director David Blount serves as legislative liaison and says this year’s regional wishlist is very similar to last year’s.  ‘We’ve added some language to support the expansion of allowing the uses of electronic meetings outside of emergency declarations,” Blount said. “I think we’ll see some legislation on that in 2022.”Charlottesville City Council will be presented with the TJPDC legislative program and their own program at their next meeting on December 6. End notes:Thanks to Grace Liz Cerami, Lisa Edge, Lloyd Goad, and Grace Reynolds for their narration assistance in the podcast. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Henrico News Minute
Henrico News Minute – Dec. 1, 2021

Henrico News Minute

Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 4:24


The Henrico Board of Supervisors approves several road projects; distracted driving responsible for more than 2,200 crashes in the county since 2019; a county agency is planning a job fair; one county neighborhood receives a grant from the Virginia Department of Forestry; the latest in our ‘Faces of Henrico Business' series.Henrico News Minute – Dec. 1, 2021.Support the show (http://www.henricocitizen.com/contribute)

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 605 (11-29-21): Preparing for the Season of Freezing Water

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:17).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 11-26-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of November 29, 2021.  This episode is part of a series this year of winter-related episodes. MUSIC – ~10 sec – instrumental. That excerpt of “Mid-winter Etude,” by Timothy Seaman of Williamsburg, Va., opens our annual episode on winter preparedness.  This coincides with Virginia Winter Weather Awareness Week, which is being observed this year from November 29 to December 3, according to the Wakefield, Va., National Weather Service office. In 2021, winter astronomically begins in Virginia on December 21 at 10:59 a.m.  That's the Eastern Standard time of the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, when that hemisphere is at its maximum annual tilt away from the sun. At its beginning, middle, or end, winter can bring cold temperatures, hazardous roads, power outages, and fire hazards.  To help you be prepared, here are 10 tips compiled from information provided by the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC.1. Avoid traveling in winter-storm conditions if you can. If you must travel, get road conditions from the Virginia 511 telephone system, Web site, or app.   And have an emergency kit for your vehicle, including jumper cables, water, non-perishable food, blankets, a flashlight, and other items.2. Have battery-powered sources of lighting and information, particularly weather information, along with enough batteries to last through a power outage of several days.  Whenever possible, use flashlights and not candles during power outages.  If you do use candles, put them in safe holders away from anything combustible, and don't leave a burning candle unattended.3.  Make a family emergency plan that covers sheltering; evacuation from your area; escape from a home fire; emergency meeting places; communications; a supply of food, water, and medications; and other factors specific to your circumstances; and practice your plan. 4.  Get fireplaces, wood stoves, and chimneys inspected and cleaned.5.  Install a smoke detector in every bedroom and on every floor level, test them monthly, and replace the batteries at least annually. 6.  Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check or replace the battery every six months.7.  If you use space heaters, make sure they'll switch off automatically if the heater falls over; plug them into wall outlets, not extension cords; keep them at least three feet from combustible objects; don't leave heaters unattended; and check for cracked or damaged wires or plugs. 8.  Generators, camp stoves, and other devices that burn gasoline or charcoal should be used outdoors only.9.  Learn where to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts. And 10.  Be careful of overexertion during snow shoveling. More information on preparing for winter weather, fires, and other emergencies is available online from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, at vaemergency.gov.Next time the forecast calls for snow, freezing rain, or other wintry weather, here's hoping that you can stay warm, dry, and safe.Thanks to Timothy Seaman for permission to use this week's music, and we close with about 25 more seconds of “Mid-winter Etude.”  MUSIC – ~28 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 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 “Midwinter Etude,” from the 1996 album “Incarnation,” is copyright by Timothy Seaman and Pine Wind Music, used with permission.  More information about Mr. Seaman is available online at http://timothyseaman.com/en/.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 561, 1-25-21. 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.IMAGESSnow and ice on a seasonal pond at Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., December 26, 2020.Snow along Toms Creek at Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., December 26, 2020.Ice hanging from tree twigs at Heritage Park in Blacksburg, Va., February 20, 2021.EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT WINTER WEATHER PREPAREDNESS AND FIRE SAFETY On Winter Weather Preparedness The following information is quoted from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), “Winter Weather,” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/winter-weather/, accessed 11/29/21.Winter storms can range from freezing rain or ice, to a few hours of moderate snowfall, to a blizzard that lasts for several days.  Many winter storms are accompanied by dangerously low temperatures, power outages and unpredictable road conditions.  Before, during, and after a winter storm, roads and walkways may become extremely dangerous or impassable.  Access to critical community services such as public transportation, child care, healthcare providers and schools may be limited.  Preparing your home, car and family before cold weather and a winter storm arrives is critical. Overview for Dealing with a Winter Storm*During a winter storm, stay off the roads as much as possible and only drive when absolutely necessary.  Always give snow plows the right of way. *Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal burning device inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any other partially enclosed area. *Snow shoveling is a known trigger for heart attacks!  Always avoid overexertion when shoveling. *When severe weather occurs, plan to check on elderly or disabled neighbors and relatives. *If you must travel, know road conditions before you leave home.  Visit 511Virginia.org or call 511 for road condition updates. *Protect yourself from frostbite!  Hands, feet and face are the most commonly affected areas so wear a hat, mittens (which are warmer than gloves) and cover your mouth with a scarf to reduce heat loss. *Keep dry!  Change out of wet clothing frequently to prevent a loss of body heat. *Wear several layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing rather than one layer or heavy clothing.Prepare Your Home *Make sure your home is properly insulated. *Check the weather stripping around your windows and doors. *Learn how to shut off water valves in case a pipe bursts. *Have additional heat sources on hand in case of a power outages. *Keep a fire extinguisher accessible. *Replace the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector annually. Prepare Your Car *Batteries lose power as temperatures drop, be sure to have yours tested. *Check your car's antifreeze level. *Have your radiator system serviced. *Replace your car's windshield wiper fluid with a wintertime mix. *Proactively replace your car's worn tires and wiper blades. *To help with visibility, clean [snow or ice] off your car entirely, including your trunk, roof, windows and headlights. Did You Know?*Dehydration can make you more susceptible to hypothermia.*If it's too cold for you, it's too cold for your pet!  Don't leave pets outside for prolonged periods of time and have plenty of fresh, unfrozen water on hand.*Each year, snow, sleet, slush and/or ice on the road leads to approximately, 537,000 crashes, 136,000 injuries, and 1,800 deaths.*It can snow at temperatures well above freezing*Temperatures do not have to be below zero degrees to cause harmOn Fire SafetyThe following information is quoted from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), “Fires,” online at https://www.vaemergency.gov/fires/, accessed 11/29/21. In just two minutes, a fire can become life-threatening.  In just five minutes, a home can be engulfed in flames. Learn About Fires *Fire is FAST!  In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.*Fire is HOT!  Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.*Fire is DARK!  Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.*Fire is DEADLY!  Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy. Asphyxiation is the leading cause of fire deaths, exceeding burns by a three-to-one ratio. Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan*In the event of a fire, remember that every second counts, so you and your family must always be prepared.  Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly.*Twice each year, practice your home fire escape plan.  Some tips to consider when preparing this plan include:*Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke.*A secondary route might be a window onto a neighboring roof or a collapsible ladder for escape from upper story windows.*Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly, and that security bars can be properly opened.*Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.*Teach children not to hide from firefighters.  Smoke Alarms*A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.*Install both ionization AND photoelectric smoke alarms, OR dual sensor smoke alarms, which contain both ionization and photoelectric smoke sensors.*Test batteries monthly.*Replace batteries in battery-powered and hard-wired smoke alarms at least once a year (except non-replaceable 10-year lithium batteries).*Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement, both inside and outside of sleeping areas.*Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 8-10 years or according to manufacturer's instructions.*Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking – it can be a deadly mistake. Smoke Alarm Safety for People with Access or Functional Needs*Audible alarms for visually impaired people should pause with a small window of silence between each successive cycle so that they can listen to instructions or voices of others.*Smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired. Contact your local fire department for information about obtaining a flashing or vibrating smoke alarm.*Smoke alarms with a strobe light outside the home to catch the attention of neighbors, and emergency call systems for summoning help, are also available. During a Fire*Crawl low under any smoke to your exit – heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.*Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.*If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.*If you can't get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.*If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.*If you can't get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out.  Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.*If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop, and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground, and cover your face with your hands.  Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out.  If you or someone else cannot stop, drop, and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel.  Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for 3 to 5 minutes.  Cover with a clean, dry cloth.  Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department. Fire Escape Planning for Older Adults and People with Access or Functional Needs*Live near an exit. You'll be safest on the ground floor if you live in an apartment building. If you live in a multi-story home, arrange to sleep on the ground floor, and near an exit.*If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you get through the doorways.*Make any necessary accommodations, such as providing exit ramps and widening doorways, to facilitate an emergency escape.*Speak to your family members, building manager, or neighbors about your fire safety plan and practice it with them.*Contact your local fire department's non-emergency line and explain your special needs. Ask emergency providers to keep your special needs information on file.*Keep a phone near your bed and be ready to call 911 or your local emergency number if a fire occurs. After a Fire – The following checklist serves as a quick reference and guide for you to follow after a fire strikes.*Contact your local disaster relief service, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.*If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting the property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies.  If you are not insured, try contacting private organizations for aid and assistance.*Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter. Be watchful of any structural damage caused by the fire.  The fire department should see that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site.  DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself.*Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items.  Do not throw away any damaged goods until after an inventory is made.  Try to locate valuable documents and records.*Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss.  The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on income tax.*Notify your mortgage company of the fire. Cooking*Stay in the kitchen when you are frying, grilling, or broiling food. If you leave the kitchen for even a short period of time, turn off the stove.*Wear short, close-fitting or tightly rolled sleeves when cooking.*Keep children away from cooking areas by enforcing a “kid-free zone” of 3 feet around the stove.*Position barbecue grills at least 10 feet away from siding and deck railings, and out from under eaves and overhanging branches. Smoking*Smoke outside and completely stub out butts in an ashtray or a can filled with sand.*Soak cigarette butts and ashes in water before throwing them away. Never toss hot cigarette butts or ashes in the trash can.*Never smoke in a home where oxygen is used, even if it is turned off. Oxygen can be explosive and makes fire burn hotter and faster.*Be alert – don't smoke in bed! If you are sleepy, have been drinking, or have taken medicine that makes you drowsy, put your cigarette out first. Electrical and Appliance Safety*Frayed wires can cause fires. Replace all worn, old or damaged appliance cords immediately and do not run

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Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 29, 2021: Charlottesville PC briefed on next capital budget

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 14:00


As of the typing of these words, there are 22 days until the solstice when our portion of the world will slowly begin illuminating a little more each day. This is the 333rd day of this year. What significance might there be in the number 4,444? Stick around for enough editions of Charlottesville Community Engagement, and that figure may one day show up. I’m your host Sean Tubbs, tracking the trivial and monitoring the memorable. On today’s show:Charlottesville’s Planning Commission gets a look at the preliminary capital budget for fiscal year 23University Transit Service buses return to full capacity More news about the transition team of Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin Let’s begin today with two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, 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!As the week begins, the Virginia Department of Health reports a seven-day average of 1,377 new cases and the seven-day percent positivity is at 6.1 percent. On Friday, the VDH reported the first fatality of a child from Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome. In the Blue Ridge Health District, there are another 55 new cases today and a seven-day percent positivity of 5.8 percent. There have been two more fatalities reported since Wednesday. Last week, the Jefferson Madison Regional Library entered into a partnership with the Virginia Department of Health to distribute at-home COVID-19 testing kits. The pilot program offers rapid antigen tests that are guided by a virtual assistant. “The test kits must be used away from the library, via an internet-connected device with a camera (including smart phones) with digital test results available within 15 minutes,” reads a press release. “Library staff cannot assist with administering tests, and tests cannot be taken inside any JMRL location.”Today marks the first day in a year and a half that passengers on University Transit Service buses will board from the front door. UTS has ended rules that required riders to board from the middle door. Capacity restrictions have also been dropped, meaning buses will be able to fill to standing. However, masks and facial coverings are still mandatory. The University Transit Service will also restore service to stops at Garrett Hall and Monroe Hall whenever UTS is serving McCormick Road. Those stops had been dropped to help UTS manage the capacity restrictions. Visit the UTS website to learn more about specific details.To learn more about transit, consider attending the Regional Transit Partnership’s meeting on Thursday at 4 p.m. On the agenda is a look at the Regional Transit Vision plan that is in development by the Thomas Jefferson Planning District. (agenda)Jaunt buses returned to 100 percent capacity earlier this year. There are a few local names on what Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin is calling his transition landing teams. The “landing teams that will coordinate with the cabinet secretaries from the current administration and conduct due diligence across all agencies so that the Youngkin administration will hit the ground running and begin delivering on its promises on Day One,” reads a press release from Wednesday.Senator Emmet Hanger (R-24) will serve on the Agriculture and Forestry team and Delegate Rob Bell (R-58) is on the Education team. Bell will also serve on the Public Safety and Homeland Security team. Senator Bryce Reeves (R-17) will be on the Veterans and Defense Affairs team. For the full list, take a look at the full press release. In today’s second subscriber-supported public service announcement: The Charlottesville Jazz Society at cvillejazz.org is dedicated to the promotion, preservation, and perpetuation of all that  jazz, and there’s no time like now to find a time to get out and watch people love to play. The Charlottesville Jazz Society keeps a running list of what’s coming up at cvillejazz.org. Sign up for their newsletter today. The Charlottesville Planning Commission got a look last week at a preliminary budget for the capital improvement program for the fiscal years 2023 through 2027. Council will vote next spring to approve the first year of spending, but decisions for future years would be for future versions of Council. (November 23 presentation) (watch the meeting)But first, what is a capital improvement program? Krissy Hammill is a Senior Budget and Management Analyst for the City of Charlottesville. “It’s basically a five-year financing plan that contains infrastructure type projects that usually cost more than $50,000,” Hammill said. “They’re generally non-recurring and non-operational and they generally have a useful life of five years or more.” Major items are usually funded by debt the city takes on in the form of bond sales. Investors front the money in exchange for a steady and guaranteed return. Like Albemarle County, Charlottesville has a AAA bond rating that is both attractive to investors and has a low interest rate. The latter results in a lower debt-service payment for the city. “We are actually part of a very small group of localities that have that rating,” Hammill said. “It is the premiere marker of a locality’s financial stability in strength.” In recent years, Council has increased the amount of spending on affordable housing initiatives, directly funding redevelopment of public housing and Friendship Court. In the past budget cycle, Council expressed a willingness to fund the configuration of City Schools. “We had a placeholder for that project at $50 million and based on Council’s direction from a meeting in October, that has now been increased from $50 million to $75 million,” Hammill said. “The funding has been moved up from FY25 to FY24. We also know that in doing this there will need to be additional revenue enhancements to pay for the additional debt service that will be required.”Revenue enhancements can be translated as “tax increase” and Hammill has previously told Council and the public that the equivalent of a 15 cent increase on the property tax rate may be required to cover the cost. There’s the possibility of the next General Assembly allowing Charlottesville voters to decide on a sales-tax increase with proceeds going toward schools. Even with that possibility, the city may not be able to make any new investments for some time. “We know that our debt capacity will be exhausted for some period of time,” Hammill said. In the current fiscal year, debt service is just under five percent of the $192.2 million General Fund Budget. That amount does not include the amount of general fund cash used for capital projects. That number will increase. “The plan put before you has debt service basically doubling from just over ten million to just over $20 million within a very short period of time, about four years,” Hammill said. A draft of the next Capital Improvement Program won’t be officially presented to Council until late February or early March. Hammill documented several other revisions to the preliminary budget. At Council’s direction, $18.25 million in city funds for the West Main Streetscape were transferred to the school reconfiguration project as well as $5 million from a parking garage on 7th and Market Street. In December 2018, a previous City Council  signed an agreement with Albemarle County to provide parking as part of a multimillion project to locate a joint General District Court downtown. Subsequent Councils have opted to not build a new parking garage to honor the terms of that agreement. (read the agreement)“We don’t have any specifics right now,” said Chris Engel, the city’s economic development director. “We’re in the midst of conversation with the county about the fact that we’re not going to build a structure and what the agreement leaves them with regard to their options and trying to figure out what’s best for both parties.” Pre-construction of the courts facility is underway. Another adjustment in the city’s preliminary capital improvement program is additional funding for a comprehensive plan for the Parks and Recreation Department. “This would be to look at Parks and Rec programs,” Hammill said. “This is not the normal master plan for the parks per se master planning process, but more of a programmatic master plan.” There are also programs for drainage issues at Oakwood Cemetery and McIntire Park as well as funding to assist the removal of dead Ash trees in the city. Council has also approved a housing plan that asks for $10 million a year on affordable housing initiatives. Hammill said not all of the funding for that initiative would come from the capital improvement program budget. City Council will review the Charlottesville Affordable Housing Fund at its meeting on December 6. Another item not in the capital budget is private funding for a sidewalk on Stribling Avenue. Southern Development has offered to loan the city $2.9 million to cover the cost of the project as part of a rezoning in Fry’s Spring area. The Charlottesville Planning Commission will hold a public hearing on the preliminary CIP on December 14. Finally today, the second shout-out for today specifically asked you to check out a local news story. Here’s one to begin with. Last week, Carly Haynes of CBS19 reported on the intersection of Preston Avenue and Grady Avenue in Charlottesville. Charlottesville was awarded $7.743 million in a Smart Scale project to alter the intersection. Learn more in this report from November 23rd.Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP! The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here!. This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 604 (11-22-21): Canvasbacks Come Back to the Chesapeake as Winter Approaches

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:33).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 11-19-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of November 22, 2021.  This revised episode from January 2014 is part of a series this year of winter-related episodes. SOUND – ~5 sec That's the landing sound of a large, distinctive duck that can be found in winter on Virginia's coastal waters.  Have a listen for about 10 seconds to some more of this species' sounds, and see if you know this bird.  And here's a hint: the bird's name, and the male's beautiful color, may remind you of a painting.SOUND – ~12 secIf you guessed a Canvasback, you're right!  Canvasbacks breed on water bodies in the prairies of Canada and the northern United States, but they winter in large sections of the U.S. and Mexico, with one concentration in the Chesapeake Bay area.  According to the Chesapeake Bay Program, at one time almost half of North America's Canvasbacks wintered around the Chesapeake, but that number has decreased to about 20 percent because of reductions in Bay submerged aquatic vegetation, or Bay grasses, a valuable winter food for this species.  Canvasbacks are diving ducks, meaning they typically go completely underwater to obtain food and avoid predators.  In winter, Canvasbacks feed largely on plant roots and buds, while in summer they'll add to their plant diet a variety of aquatic insects and other animals.  Predators on adult and young Canvasbacks include mink, coyotes, foxes, owls and other birds, some reptiles and fish, and human hunters, while Canvasback eggs are eaten by various mammals and birds. The Canvasback is considered one of the most distinctive North American ducks.  The following quote from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's “Birds of the World” Web site describes how the bird stands out.  Quote: “This exclusively North American species is considered the ‘aristocrat of ducks.'  The male's striking appearance—rich chestnut-red head and neck, black chest, white back, and long, sloping, blackish bill—along with its large size distinguish it in the field.”  Unquote. Thanks to Lang Elliott for permission to use the Canvasback sounds, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs.  We close with about 50 seconds of music appropriate for the Canvasback's Chesapeake Bay connection.  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 Virginia Water Radio episode revises and replaces Episode 197, 1-20-14, and the sounds segment of Episode 50, 1-24-11. Emily Whitesell helped write this original script for this episode during a Virginia Tech English Department internship in Spring 2011 with the Virginia Water Resources Research Center. The Canvasback sounds were 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.  Lang Elliot's work is available online at the “Music of Nature” Web site, http://www.musicofnature.org/. “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 565, 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 most recently in Episode 601, 10-31-21, on 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 Episode 440, 10-1-18, on E-bird. “Ice Dance” – used in Episode 556, 12-21-20, on how organisms survive freezing temperatures.“Lizard Lied” – used in Episode 514, 3-2-20, on lizards. “New Year's Water” – used in Episode 349, 1-2-17, on the New Year. “Rain Refrain” – used most recently in Episode 559, 1-11-21, on record rainfall in 2020.“Runoff” – used 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.  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. IMAGESMale Canvasback (location and date not identified).  Photo by Lee Karney, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov; specific URL for this photo was https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/1645/rec/2), as of 11/22/21.Female Canvasback in Anchorage Coastal Wildlife Refuge in Alaska in May 2005.  Photo by Donna A. Dewhurst, made available for public use by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's National Digital Library, online at http://digitalmedia.fws.gov; specific URL for this photo was https://digitalmedia.fws.gov/digital/collection/natdiglib/id/14/rec/9), as of 11/22/21.EXTRA INFORMATION ABOUT CANVASBACK DUCKS The scientific name of the Canvasback is Aythya valisineria. Here are some points about Canvasbacks, excerpted from the Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “Fish and Wildlife Information Service/Canvasback,” online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040064&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18949.Physical Description “The adult male has a head that is rusty red, shading to almost black near the bill.  The breast is grayish-black and the sides and back are light gray to white.  The wings and speculum are gray, and the eye is red.  The bill is long and sloping, black, with decidedly long sloping profile that clearly distinguishes it from the redhead. …The adult female head is light brown.  The sides and breast are olive-brown to gray-brown, and the underparts are light gray. The back is gray, finely barred with darker gray, and the wings are grayish brown.  …They have short wings, and a rapid wingbeat.  This species has difficulty leaving the water.  It is one of the fastest flying ducks.  …It is one of the largest ducks.”Breeding “The breeding season is from May to June… This species breeds in Alaska, western Canada, northwest United States, western North America from the prairie provinces of Canada, south into the central and western states and occasionally as far east as Hudson Bay with a few as far north as Alaska.  Spring and early summer they are found in marshes with shallow waters [and in] flooded farmland.  In mid-summer they frequent large marshes and lakes, sloughs, and swampy areas.” Migration and Winter Habitat and Behavior “During migration, they fly in large ‘V' shaped flocks at high altitudes. … They are also associated with larger bodies of water.  …Late migration is in the fall, and early migration in the spring.  This species migrates cross country from the northwestern United States to the Atlantic Coast, principally the Chesapeake Bay.  The migration corridors shift annually, and they have a strong tendency to return to the same breeding ground.  … The heaviest flight is from the Canada pothole country to the Chesapeake Bay. … They arrive at Chesapeake Bay later than most other ducks.  The Chesapeake Bay fall migration is from October 15 to December 15, with a peak from November 15 to December 15.  The spring migration is from February 20 to May 1, with the peak from March 1 to March 30.  They occupy specific and traditional rivers, lakes, and marshes on migratory areas.  … This species winters to Mexico [and to the] Atlantic and Gulf Coast.  ...Virginia is one of best areas for canvasbacks.  …  They are found in lakes, salt bays and estuaries, brackish and alkaline waters near the coast, estuaries and shallow bays, [and] rarely on the open sea. … The optimum in Chesapeake Bay areas is in fresh and brackish estuarine bays with extensive beds of submerged plants or abundant invertebrates, primarily in brackish rather than salt or freshwater areas. … There has been a 53% decline in wintering populations in the United States.  There has also been a decrease in the Atlantic flyway.”  [Population decreases have been caused by several factors, including drainage of breeding marshland, food supplies being depleted by carp and swan, pollution of wintering areas, disappearance of submerged aquatic vegetation in the Chesapeake Bay, droughts on breeding grounds, oil spills, and illegal hunting and trapping.] Diet “This species dives and obtains food from the bottoms of ponds, lakes, large rivers, open marshes, and muddy bottoms.  Plants are uprooted and the roots are eaten.  This species dives to 20-30 feet. … Important foods include…aquatic plants…, molluscs, insects, caddisfly and midge larvae, dragonflies, [and] small fish.  Chesapeake Bay foods include wild celery, widgeon grass, eelgrass, pondweed, clams and mud crabs.  Juvenile foods include caddisfly larvae, midge larvae, and mayfly nymphs.” SOURCES Used for Audio Mike Burke, “The big, beautiful canvasback: What's not to love?”  Bay Journal, November 2021, available online at https://www.bayjournal.com/eedition/page-43/page_136f4325-b978-5e55-bcec-907f0a04b1fc.html. Chesapeake Bay Program, “Birds,” online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/all/birds/all; the Canvasback entry is online at https://www.chesapeakebay.net/discover/field-guide/entry/canvasback. Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “All About Birds,” online at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/news/.  The Canvasback entry is online at https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Canvasback/. Cornell University Lab of Ornithology, “Birds of the World” online at https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/home(subscription may be required).  The Canvasback entry is online at https://birdsoftheworld.org/bow/species/canvas/cur/introduction. Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rdEdition, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006. Chandler S. Robbins et al., A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, St. Martin's Press, New York, N.Y., 2001. 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/; the Canvasback entry is online at https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040064&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18949. For More Information about Birds in Virginia and Elsewhere 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. Stan Tekiela, Birds of Virginia Field Guide, Adventure Publications, Inc., Cambridge, Minn., 2002. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at https://animaldiversity.org/. Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “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. 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” and “Weather/Climate/Natural Disas

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Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 20, 2021: Crozet CAC debriefs after Master Plan update adoption; Sage Smith has been missing for nine years

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 20, 2021 19:24


Let’s begin today with a Patreon-fueled shout-out. Charlottesville 350 is the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Charlottesville 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. To learn more about their most active campaigns, including a petition drive to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/cville350                                                                                                                  On today’s program:The CDC has approved booster shots for all adult AmericansThe city fills one position while another became vacant The Virginia Supreme Court appoints two Special Masters to complete the redistricting process Members of the Crozet Community Advisory Committee debrief after Supervisors adopt a master planCOVID updateAs the week ended, the percent positivity creeped up slightly to 5.8 percent as reported by the Virginia Department of Health and the seven day average rose to 1,518. Nearly a million Virginians have received a third dose or a booster shot. The seven day average for doses administered a day was 40,389 on Friday. Also on Friday, the Food and Drug Administration authorized the use of the Moderna and Pfizer booster shots for all adults, and the Centers for Disease Control followed suit later in the day. Dr. Costi Sifri is director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System, and he said this means anyone who completed their two-dose cycle of Pfizer and Moderna can now get a booster dose. “We’re at a point right now where that is going to start including a fair number of people,” Dr. Sifri said. “It’s clear that boosters are really beneficial in boosting up the number of antibodies.”Dr. Sifri said there are an increasing number of “breakthrough-cases” in people who were vaccinated over six months ago. Some of these cases have resulted in hospitalizations and Dr. Sifri recommended those at higher risk should schedule their booster. “I really strongly encourage those people to get a booster especially as we head into the holiday season and as we are starting to see increasing rates of COVID in the nation as well as our community,” Dr. Sifri said. Dr. Sifri said others should consider getting the third dose, especially if they want to avoid contracting COVID. “There hasn’t been much of a rush,” Dr. Sifri said. “Right now we understand that about 16 percent of people in our health district who are eligible for a booster vaccine has received one.”Dr. Reid Adams is the Chief Medical Officer at UVA Health. His recommendation is a little more sharp.“I think the time is now,” Dr. Adams said. “We have gotten to a lower rate in Virginia but it’s certainly not low enough. If you look around the country, particularly in the midwest and the upper plains, we’re really seeing a surge so ideally folks would get their booster now before that happens here.” People who want to schedule a booster dose or get vaccinated for the first time can do so at vaccinate.virginia.gov. There are plenty of appointments and shots.“We have not seen long waits for booster doses here at the medical center,” Dr. Sifri said. “Those are available. In addition there is the availability of getting booster vaccines through local pharmacies and the Blue Ridge Health District.”Since November 6, over 4,674 children between the ages of 5 and 11 have been vaccinated, or around 25 percent of the eligible population. Sage Smith disappearanceToday marks nine years since Sage Smith disappeared, having last been seen in the 500 block of West Main Street. The Charlottesville Police Department put out a release this morning stating they are still seeking the whereabouts of Erik McFadden, calling him a critical person of interest in the case. The two had been expected to meet the night of November 20, 2012, but Smith has not been heard from since. McFadden is believed to have left town rather than speak to the police. “Smith was a beloved family member and friend to many in the Charlottesville and LGBTQ+ communities,” the release reads. “Although [nne] years have passed, CPD is hopeful with the help of the media and continued public interest, we can finally solve this case and bring closure to a family and community that continues to experience anguish.” A missing persons report was filed for McFadden in June 2019 but multiple leads have not turned up any further developments. For more information, take a look at the release. Charlottesville personnel updateThe city has hired a Minority Business Development Coordinator. Ajoni Wynn-Floyd will take the position within the city’s Economic Development Department. The Minority Business Program was created in 2018 to assist qualified businesses with one-on-one business consulting, start-up assistance, and help registering to be vendors for state and local government. “The program is focused on increasing the number of minority- and woman-owned businesses that are registered vendors with the City and to encourage more City spending with such businesses,” reads the intake form on the city’s website.Wynn-Floyd has worked with the Latino Student Alliance and the Diversity Awareness Program board. Earlier this month, the city’s Tree Commission learned of the resignation of Mike Ronayne, the city’s urban forester. He served in the position for five years. The position has not yet been advertised on the Charlottesville jobs board as of Friday afternoon.  At that November 2 meeting, Tree Commission chair Brian Menard said the city must demonstrate support for urban forestry.“We need to have more resources, not just financially, but we need more resources in terms of hands that can do this work and support this work,” Menard said. “We recognize that this has not been an ordinary 18 months but even before then it was clear that there’s just a lot that’s put on one person,” Menard said. Map-drawers selectedThe Virginia Supreme Court has appointed two special masters to complete the process of redistricting maps for the General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Sean P. Trende and Bernard F. Grofman are the selected candidates. “Though each was nominated by legislative leaders of a particular political party, the Nominees… shall serve as officers of the Court in a quasi-judicial capacity,” reads the appointment order made Friday.The pair will work on a single map and have 30 days to complete their work. According to the order, Trende and Grofman must resolve differences in good-faith and are not permitted to consult with anyone except for designated staff at the Supreme Court and the Virginia Division of Legislative Services. They are directed to take into account the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Voting Rights Act. “In short, the Court expects to receive from its Special Masters redistricting maps that have been drafted using factors that are fully compliant with constitutional and statutory law applied in an apolitical and nonpartisan manner,” reads the order. Trende was nominated by Republicans and is a senior elections analyst with Real Clear Politics. Grofman is a political science professor at the University of California at Irvine. Read more at the Virginia Mercury.In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. Crozet updateA month has passed since the Albemarle Board of Supervisors adopted an update of the Crozet Master Plan, with some land use aspects included over the wishes of some members of the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. For a good summary of what happened on October 20, read Allison Wrabel’s story in the October 21 Daily Progress. Or Lisa Martin’s story in the November 5 Crozet Gazette.On November 10, the Crozet CAC had the opportunity to talk about the plan. Chair Allie Pesch didn’t have anything prepared, and neither had Planning Manager Rachel Falkenstein. The Albemarle Planning Commission had recommended removing the Middle Density Residential designation from a portion of downtown Crozet, but there were four votes on the Board of Supervisors to move forward. White Hall District Supervisor Ann Mallek ended up voting with that majority on the eventual 5 to 1 vote in support of the plan’s update.“I should have done it differently,” Mallek said. “I should have made the motion I was going to make that adopted the Planning Commission’s route and if that had been voted down we would have been much more clear to the membership in the community what was going on.”  Meetings in Albemarle are still virtual due to the pandemic and Mallek said the logistics of getting that motion moved forward were difficult to accomplish over Zoom. She acknowledged that many landowners in Crozet are concerned about the increased density. Many CAC members thought their concerns were too easily dismissed.“I found a fair amount of pretty serious community input ignored at points and I feel that ever since the state abolished the ability to negotiate proffers, developers kind of trump most of the decisions,” said Brian Day.Day referred to legislation in 2016 that rendered invalid an Albemarle policy that required a cash payment from developers for every new unit authorized by a rezoning. Proffers are still legal if they are deemed reasonable and contribute to the direct impact of a development. However, the 2016 legislation ushered a cooling off point where localities were hesitant to even discuss the issue. This past week, for instance, representatives of Greystar Development said they would pay a proportional amount toward upgrades on Old Ivy Road. Michael Monaco, a new member of the CAC, said he felt public input had to be broadened in range. He said Crozet needs more housing and more entry-level jobs so young people can stay.“I think any process that is guided mostly by homeowners is going to be guided mostly by the financial interests of homeowners, consciously or not,” Monaco said. “Any attempt to counter that would be wise.” Kostas Alibertis is on his second term on the CAC. “I think the struggle and the challenge that we had here was the vision of the county versus the vision of the community and I think we’ll always have that unless there is some delineation of where those lines are, and I think that’s what led to all of this frustration,” Alibertis said. Shawn Bird said the process was hurt by a lack of in-person community engagement meetings due to the pandemic.“If you remember those meetings we had at the high school, I thought there was really strong turn out, I thought there were people energized by the process, we had a certain momentum behind it,” Bird said. “I saw new people coming out to those things and then COVID hit and we all had to jump on our computers and it just changed the whole dynamic.”During the process, the CAC took votes indicating a majority were not in favor of the middle density residential category. Those votes are not binding and are only symbolic, but Bird defended the practice as well a 2017 survey (as published in the Crozet Gazette),“I think the powers that be need to know was this issue 13 to 2, or 8 to 7, by the CCAC?” Bird said. “I think you need to quantify to some degree where the citizens fall on particular issues. In my mind, that’s what makes a survey much more powerful to some degree than anecdotal one-offs by people who have the time to jump on these cools and may have the loudest voices.”Allie Pesch said the master plan update was revision and not a rewrite. She said an analysis of the update should look at whether existing goals are being met.“We’ve wanted to increase affordable housing for a while and the solution seemed to be just to increase density and not really look at how that has or hasn’t worked in the existing plan,” Pesch said. Marc McKenney is in his first term on the CAC and he said many are concerned that Albemarle has not made the investments to support that density. “There’s been massive growth in Crozet in the past two decades,” McKenney said. “Population went from 2,200 in 2000, to 5,500 in 2010, to 9,500 or 9,200 a decade later. (TRIM) If we cannot show citizens what’s actually been delivered from an infrastructure perspective, I guarantee you there will be a complete loss in faith by citizens to the county that they have their best interest in providing sidewalks, and road repairs, and bridges.”Some of the current projects in the planning process are:$1.5 million in improvement to the Square anticipated to be completed in May 2023 (page 26 here), $21.25 million expansion of Crozet Elementary School expected to be completed in August 2022 (page 28 here)Sidewalk improvements on U.S. 250 West from Cory Farms to Cloverlawn (page 44)A revenue-sharing application was submitted to the Virginia Department of Transportation on October 1 to complete Eastern Avenue across Lickinghole Creek to Cory Farms Road (Albemarle transportation priority #8)Improvements at Crozet Avenue and U.S. 250 West are being considered for Smart Scale recommendations in 2022 (Albemarle transportation priority #21) The adoption of the Crozet Master Plan happened just before the first phase of the county’s Comprehensive Plan review got underway. A public kickoff meeting will take place in January. Supervisor Mallek urged members of the CAC to become engaged in that process to ensure that Crozet’s voice can be heard.“While people may feel discouraged about particular outcomes in our process, we all need to be keeping our eyes on this other prize going forward because from natural resource planning to historic preservation to climate change to all slews of things, that is the core book that the Board and the staff refer to and this is our chance to make sure that our local words are maintained,” Mallek said. One of the items to be discussed during the Comp Plan review will be the county’s growth management policy. Thanks to Ting for their support in helping this program be produced each day. Today the newsletter ends with a limerick from friend of the show Bekah Saxon honoring Ting for their commitment to match your initial payment to a paid Substack subscription!There once was a reporter named SeanWho needed a check to go onWith money from TingHe could make his words singAnd keep Charlottesville moving alongSpecial announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 18, 2021: Public housing agency preparing annual plan; State of the James measures the health of the big river

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 17:25


Let’s begin with a Patreon-fueled shout-out. Colder temperatures are creeping in, and now is the perfect time to think about keeping your family warm through the holidays. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!On today’s program: The overall health of the James River has dropped slightly The Food and Drug Administration approves focused ultrasound to treat some symptoms of Parkinson’s diseaseArea transportation officials want your input tonight on the region’s transit futureAn update on planning for Smart Scale’s fifth round The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority prepares its annual plan to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban DevelopmentWhile the number of vaccinated Virginians has increased due to the extension of shots into people between the ages of 5 and 11, the number of cases has been up slightly over the past two days. However the Virginia Department of Health reports Wednesday figure of 2,592 new cases as a technical error that includes counts from previous days. The seven day average is now at 1,475 a day and the percent positivity is at 5.5 percent today. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 49 new cases today and the fatality count is at 309. Do you have something to say about how our area bus systems should work? Tonight you’ll have your chance to weigh in on a Regional Transit Vision that could guide the future. Lucinda Shannon is a transportation planner with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District who briefed a technical committee of the Metropolitan Planning Organization on Tuesday.“I’m really hoping you guys will all sign up for the public meeting which is Thursday night at 6:30 p.m.,” Shannon said. “There’s also surveys on both of the TJPDC transit projects.”The TJPDC is also conducting a separate study of the expansion of transit in Albemarle County.Changes to the Charlottesville Area Transit system have been studied and presented to the public this year, but there is no schedule for when they may go into effect as there are more procedural steps to go through. (story map) (presentation)This week, the Norfolk City Council adopted a resolution approving a plan called Multimodal Norfolk that seeks to increase frequency of some buses. “The Recommended Network focuses 70 percent of resources on service that will maximize access to opportunity for most residents and are likely to get high ridership relative to cost,” reads the resolution adopted Tuesday night. “The other 30 percent of resources are focused on service that is not likely to get high ridership but will provide service in areas where there is relatively high need.”Service in Norfolk is provided by Hampton Roads Transit, which that city pays about $20 million a year to operate service.  That includes the Tide light rail system. Meanwhile, work continues to prepare the next round of applications for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s Smart Scale funding process.  Chuck Proctor is a planner with VDOT’s Culpeper District and he’s assisting Albemarle and the MPO come up with potential submissions.“Most of them are bike-ped related, a lot of them are multimodal projects like Avon Street, 5th Street, the 29-250 bypass,” Proctor said. Other projects that could be submitted include the intersection of Old Trail and Crozet Avenue, a recommendation from the ongoing North 29 corridor study, projects on Pantops, as well as various intersections of U.S. 250 east of Pantops. The Thomas Jefferson Planning District can submit up to four applications on behalf of localities. Proctor said he was not aware of what applications the city of Charlottesville might advance. Jeannete Janiczek, the city’s urban construction initiative. In most cases, Charlottesville administers its own projects without involvement from VDOT. “I just want to remind everyone this is still early in the process,” Janiczek said. “We have a new City Council coming online. The city does plan to apply for Smart Scale but we haven’t yet decided which projects.” In four rounds, Charlottesville has been awarded millions for various streetscape projects, none of which has yet gone to construction. In September, Council indicated they would no longer support contributing a local match for funds received for the first two phases of West Main Streetscape. VDOT has not yet been formally informed of any decision, according to spokesman Lou Hatter. Janiczek said potential Charlottesville projects for Round 5 a fourth phase of West Main Streetscape, or in the East High Street, Rose Hill, and the Preston Avenue corridors. There is no information about any of these potential projects available on the city website. In contrast, Albemarle and the TJPDC have been discussing potential projects since the spring. In recent years, Albemarle County has increased its capacity to design and build non-vehicular transportation projects. Kevin McDermott is a chief of planning.“We are now finally after many years in the construction phase for a lot of sidewalk improvements including new sidewalks out on Avon Street Extended, both north and south of the Mill Creek intersection,” McDemott said. The others are:New sidewalk along U.S. 250 near the Harris Teeter including a pedestrian crossing New sidewalk along Rio Road East from John Warner Parkway heading east and south toward CharlottesvilleNew crosswalk at Mountain View Elementary School on Avon Street ExtendedNew sidewalk and shared-use path on Lambs Road to the Lambs Land CampusNew sidewalk on Ivy Road between city limits and the UVA Musculoskeletal CenterThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved the use of focused ultrasound to treat patients with Parkinson’s disease, according to a release from the University of Virginia Health System. Specifically, medical device regulators have authorized medical centers to use something called Exablate Neuro by the company Insightec to treat mobility problems associated with tremors caused by Parkinson’s disease. “Prior to the approval, available treatments for the Parkinson’s symptoms included drugs, which not all patients respond to, and invasive deep-brain surgeries,” reads the release.” Focused ultrasound, in comparison, does not require incisions or cutting into the skull.” During the procedure, highly focused sound waves are used to target faulty brain cells and used together with Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), treatment can help ease symptoms. The releases stresses that this is not a cure. The medical technology has been pioneered at UVA and shepherded by the Focused Ultrasound Foundation. Other potential uses include treatment for essential  tremors, uterine fibroids and some forms of cancer.. Research is ongoing. For more information visit the UVA Health website or watch videos on the Focused Ultrasound Foundation’s YouTube page. Water quality in the James River has declined slightly over the past two years, according to a report card issued this week by an advocacy group that seeks to promote practices to reduce pollution. Since 2007, the James River Association has issued the State of the James and this year’s B- is based on a score of 61 percent. Every two years that score is factored by looking at 18 indicators split into the two categories of River Health and River Restoration Progress. In 2017 the grade was 63 percent. “The decline that has occurred since 2017 reflects the impact of abnormally high rainfall experienced across the watershed in recent years causing increased polluted runoff throughout the James,” reads the press release. “While oysters and tidal water quality showed promising resilience over the past year by bouncing back from the surge of rainwater and pollution, the river also revealed stalled progress in phosphorus, nitrogen, and sediment pollution reductions, as well as stream health.” Among the indicators are gauges of how healthy various wildlife populations are. The good news is that the bald eagle scores at 100 percent due to an increase in breeding pairs to 352, indicating the ban on DDT as well as passage of the Endangered Species Act in 1973 has led to the resurgence. The bad news is that American shad are rated at zero and efforts to stock the James River watershed with hatchery shad have not worked because of the presence of dams, water intakes for water supply, invasive catfish, and fishing nets intended for other species. “Given the dire situation, Virginia must develop an emergency recovery plan that clearly identifies restoration actions,” reads the report card. “But it will take a long-term and sustained effort to bring American shad back from the brink of collapse in the James.” To look through all of the indicators, visit the State of the James website and explore their story map. What are you most interested in? Let me know in the comments. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement and it’s now time for a second Patreon-fueled shout-out. The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign, an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. The leaves have started to fall as autumn set in, and as they do, this is a good time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!The Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority’s Board of Commissioners will hold a closed meeting today to discuss a personnel matter. Last week, the appointed body held a work session on a report the CRHA must turn in to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Kathleen Glenn-Matthews is the deputy director of the CRHA. (FY20-FY21 adopted plan) (FY21-22 draft plan) (FY22-23 draft plan)“The public housing authority PHA plan is a pretty comprehensive guide to all of our agency’s policies and programs,” said Glenn-Matthews. “We spent a lot of time on our goals.”There are two parts to the plan, one of which is a five-year review that won’t be due until 2023. The second part is an annual plan with details about what will happen in the next fiscal year. The fiscal year for the CRHA runs from April 1 to March 30, a different calendar than the city, state, and federal government.  HUD classifies CRHA as a “troubled agency” based on the Public Housing Assessment System (PHAS) and the Section Eight Management Assessment Program (SEMAP). Glenn-Matthews said that means CRHA has to give more information in its annual plan. One of the first items in the draft plan is a listing of the number of public housing units and the number of housing choice vouchers. The number of units has dropped from 376 to 324 due in part to the temporary closure of Crescent Halls due to renovations. The number of housing vouchers has increased due to their use to provide temporary places for temporarily displaced residents. Those vouchers are separate from a program funded directly by the City of Charlottesville but administered by CRHA to increase their number. The city has had a line item of $900,000 a year in the capital budget for this supplemental program. Highlights from the past year include the adoption of policies on security cameras as well de-concentration of poverty.“The PHA’s admission policy is designed to provide for de-concentration of poverty and income mixing by bringing higher income tenants into lower income communities and lower income tenants into higher income communities,” reads a statement in the plan.Glenn-Matthews said the CRHA wants to build a homeownership program as well as augment the family self-sufficiency program.“We don’t have funding for it and we’re penalized by being troubled but we are looking at alternate sources for that and it’s definitely a big priority for us,” Glenn-Matthews said. The draft plan indicates that the CRHA will continue to engage in “mixed finance modernization or development” as well as “demolition and/or disposition” in the coming year. One project is development of between 39 and 50 units at Sixth Street SE. There is also a pending demolition and disposition application for the second phase of South First Street, which would replace 58 existing units with a larger project. Planning for redevelopment of Westhaven is expected to begin in the next fiscal year. “We want to make sure everything in this plan is there that we want to do this year because if not we’ll have to do an amendment, and nobody wants to go through the process,” Glenn-Matthews said. The plan also explains how nonprofit companies have been formed to serve to secure funding for redevelopment. There’s also data on who lives in the units. As of August 31, 76 percent of households had incomes below 30 percent of the area median income, 14 percent are between 30 and 50 percent, and three percent are between 50 and 80 percent. Six percent of households do not have their income data available. Only one percent of residents are classified as Hispanic or Latino, three percent are classified as Asian, 21 percent are white, and 75 percent are Black.There are a total of 736 people living in Charlottesville public housing and the average household size is 2.6 percent. The public hearing on the annual plan will be held on Monday, December 20. Thanks to Ting for their support in helping this program be produced each day. Today the newsletter ends with a limerick from show supporter Harry Landers honoring Ting for their commitment to match your initial payment to a paid Substack subscription!There once was a writer from C-ville,Who sought to shine light upon evil.He did his own thing,With some help from Ting.If there's news to report, we know he will.Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown Mall This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 16, 2021: Greystar presents 490-unit Old Ivy Residences to Places29-Hydraulic group; Champion Brewing Company and Reason Beer to merge

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021 17:04


Let’s start today with two more Patreon-fueled shout-outs. The first comes a long-time supporter who wants you to know:"Today is a great day to spread good cheer: reach out to an old friend, compliment a stranger, or pause for a moment of gratitude to savor a delight."The second comes from a more recent supporter who wants you to go out and read a local news story written by a local journalist. Whether it be the Daily Progress, Charlottesville Tomorrow, C-Ville Weekly, NBC29, CBS19, WINA, or some other place I’ve not mentioned - the community depends on a network of people writing about the community. Go learn about this place today!On today’s show:Charlottesville City Council adopts a Comprehensive Plan and Future Land Use Map after a long public process and long public hearing President Biden signs an infrastructure bill Two area breweries have announced a merger The Places29-Hydraulic group gets the latest on 490 units planned for Old Ivy Road After nearly five years of review, Charlottesville City Council has adopted a Comprehensive Plan and a Future Land Use Map intended to increase the number of housing units within city limits. Council’s vote came after a long public hearing that came after a work session held in the early afternoon where Council also discussed economic development and population trends. The public hearing ended at 10:44 p.m. and Council then discussed the matter for another hour before voting to adopt. Up next will be the rewrite of the zoning code to eliminate legislative barriers to new residential density. I’ll have more on the adoption of the plan and what is in it in an upcoming edition of the newsletter. Take a look at the adopted Comprehensive Plan and the Future Land Use Map here. Two breweries in the area have announced a merger via Facebook post. Champion Brewing Company and Reason Beer will join operations in a partnership that will see Hunter Smith remain as the company’s CEO. One of Reason’s founders, Jeff Railenau, will become the Chief Financial Officer. Josh Skinner of Champion will become the Head Brewer and Reason’s Mark Fulton will become Director of Brewing Operations. Champion will relocate its production operations from a facility in the Woolen Mills on Broadway Street to Reason’s headquarters at Seminole Place on U.S. 29. “We’re excited to announce this partnership with our good friends and esteemed beer minds across town that will bring together two skilled and like-minded teams to streamline operations under one roof,” reads a statement on Champion’s Facebook page.President Joe Biden has signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will likely change the landscape for the way all kinds of projects in Virginia and the Charlottesville area are funded. “This law makes the most significant investment in roads and bridges in the past 70 years,” Biden said. “It makes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years. And in public transit ever.” The bill provides direct funding to specific areas across the entire country. (details from the White House)$55 billion to expand access to clean drinking water, eliminating lead pipes and cleaning up PFAS chemicals $21 billion in funding to remediate Superfund sites in rural and urban communities$66 billion for public transit, including vehicle replacement from fossil-fuel burning to zero emissions vehicles$5 billion specifically to purchase clean school buses$17 billion to modernize ports and update machinery to reduce congestion and emissions$25 billion for airports including efforts to drive electrification and a transition to other low-carbon technologiesOver $50 billion in investments to protect against drought, heat waves, wildfires and floodsThe legislation passed the U.S. Senate on a 69-30 vote and the U.S. House on a 221 to 201 vote. Take a look at the full bill here. “The bill I’m about to sign into law is proof that despite the cynics, Democrats and Republicans can come together to deliver results,” Biden said. There’s also funding to increase internet access.“This law is going to make high-speed Internet affordable and everywhere, everywhere in America,” Biden said “Urban, suburban, rural, and great jobs laying down those broadband lines.” Environmental groups in Virginia are celebrating the signing of the infrastructure bill, which will provide an additional $238 million for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for the Chesapeake Bay Program according to a statement from the Choose Clean Water Coalition.“These additional funds will help reduce pollution in the Bay and its waterways, especially as we approach the 2025 deadline to have all pollution reduction practices in place as part of the Bay's restoration effort,” said Coalition Director Kristin Reilly. Reilly refers to something called the Chesapeake Bay TMDL, a framework to reduce pollution across all of the watersheds that feed into the Bay, including the Rapidan, Rivanna, and James Rivers. Investments have been made over the years, including millions to upgrade the Moores Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant to reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorus that makes it to the Bay, creating dead zones with no oxygen. The bill has also been celebrated by the Virginia Transit Association, who sent out a release pointing out that the bill contains $102 billion nationwide in funding for passenger and freight rail, or a 592 percent increase over usual funding levels. That could include $1.4 billion for Virginia. “Transit will receive about $1.3 billion in formula funding over the next five years, a 34 percent increase over normal funding levels,” said Danny Plaugher, the Deputy Director of the Virginia Transit Association and the Executive Director of Virginians for HighSpeed Rail. “The Charlottesville area will receive about an extra million a year over that period. Virginia will also be competitive on several expanded transit and rail grant programs which could invest billions into our transportation network."All of Virginia’s Democratic Representatives in Congress voted for the bill, whereas all of Virginia’s Republican Representatives voted against it. But Biden said there was support from industry. “This law was supported by business groups — the U.S. Chamber of Commerce; the National Association of Manufacturers; the Business Roundtable, representing 200 of the largest corporations in America and other top businesses,” Biden said.Local governments are watching closely to see what the bill may mean for their bottom line. “Albemarle County will closely monitor avenues for local governments to apply for funding to advance our strategic infrastructure needs as guidance becomes available from the federal and state governments,” said Emily Kilroy, director of Communications and Public Engagement for Albemarle. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement.  Time for another Patreon-fueled shout-out! Charlottesville 350 is the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Charlottesville 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. To learn more about their most active campaigns, including a petition drive to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/cville350A proposed rezoning requested by Greystar Development for about 36 acres of land off of Old Ivy Road will be slightly smaller than the 525 units requested in the first application, but it will still be fairly substantial. “Our current plan is to have about 490 units,” said Valerie Long, an attorney with Williams Mullen. “We’re still under 20 dwelling units per acre so well within the range that’s permitted. The Places29-Hydraulic Community Advisory Committee got a first look at the Old Ivy Residences project, which is currently not scheduled for a public hearing before the Planning Commission. (watch the meeting)The land is split between five parcels, with three of them already zoned for 15 units per acre. “R-15 residential zoning allows for basically any type of residential development whether its single family detached, single-family attached, or multifamily apartments,” said county planner Cameron Langille. One parcel allows for ten units per acre, and the other is currently zoned for one unit per acre. The application is to make them all R-15. A previous rezoning approved by the Board of Supervisors in 1985 has a condition that states that the Old Ivy Road corridor needs to have been upgraded to a certain performance level before development can begin. “The applicant is asking for us to evaluate that and make a recommendation as to whether corridor has been improved to that extent,” Langille said. The board also approved a rezoning in 1996 for one of the parcels that restricts certain uses. Langille said the applicant wants the Board to drop that condition. There’s also a request to disturb slopes which involves changing their classification from preserved to managed. The county’s Comprehensive Plan designated three of the parcels as urban density residential, which allows anywhere between 6 units and 36 units per acre. Land along the U.S. 250 Bypass is designated as parks space and currently is the home of a section of the Rivanna Trail. Greystar officials said that would continue. Staff has conducted one review and the developer is working through the various questions from staff. John Clarkson is a managing director with Greystar Development, a national developer with projects all across the United States of America. “There are opportunities in University towns that lack housing opportunities, very important housing opportunities to provide that level of affordability to make those communities sustainable over the long term,” Clarkson said. Dan Nickerson, a development senior associate with Greystar, is a graduate of the nearby Darden School.“The number one thing we love about this site is the natural landscape and we’ve done the best job we could and we think we’ve done a really good job preserving the landscape while enabling the density that the Comp Plan allows,” Nickerson said. Old Ivy Road is a two-lane road that has a one-way underpass near its eastern intersection with Ivy Road without a sidewalk or bike lane. The western intersection as well as a two-lane bridge over the bypass are also constraints. Long acknowledged that traffic congestion is an issue.“Obviously those issues are existing, have been growing and increasing over the past few decades, but Greystar is committed to continue looking at those challenges and collaborating with [the Virginia Department of Transportation] and the county planning staff as appropriate to work toward identifying solutions,” Long said. Long said Greystar would be willing to pay a “proportional amount” for some of those solutions. VDOT’s Six-Year Improvement program includes funds for a $3 million replacement of the bridge over U.S. 250, but the description currently states it will be built with no additional capacity. Preliminary engineering is underway now with construction scheduled for Fiscal Year 2024. Long said county officials have been able to at least carve out some improvements for the project.“They were able to include in that project design that there will be a pedestrian lane on the new bridge,” Long said. Members of the CAC and the public had the opportunity to ask questions and make comments. Sally Thomas served four terms on the Board of Supervisors and lives next door in the University Village apartment building. “We don’t oppose having neighbors and we are delighted that they are neighbors that care about the environment,” Thomas said. “We also do have a lovely old stand of trees, some over 100 years old, and we want to try to preserve and protect those.” Thomas said University Village wants to make sure there are pathways that safe and attractive and avoid the trees. Kathleen Jump of Huntington Village complex said she likes to walk, but said this section of Albemarle is landlocked with many obstacles for pedestrians. “The eastern bridge is a concern and the pedestrians at that end of Old Ivy Road put their lives in their hands when they cross under that bridge,” Jump said.Kevin McDermott is a chief of planning in Albemarle who specializes in transportation. “We have been evaluating both ends of Old Ivy Road as Valerie mentioned also, very recently, to try to see if there are options for improving them,” McDermott said. “Nothing has jumped out as an easy solution right now. Trying to expand that underpass is going to be extremely expensive.” McDermott said VDOT is working with a consultant to look at both ends of the road to come up with solutions, possibly to inform a Smart Scale application for next year. Taylor Ahlgren just moved into Huntington Village. He wants the development to do as much as it can to discourage vehicular travel. Here’s what he would like to see.“Supporting future residents to stay away from using a car and using alternative means of transportation,” Ahlgren said. The project currently does not have a public meeting scheduled with the Planning Commission. Stay tuned. Also nearby is the Ivy Garden complex, which the University of Virginia will be redeveloped as a mixed-use community. The UVA Buildings and Grounds Committee got a briefing on that project in June. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 603 (11-15-21): Last Bird Out

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 16, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:35).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 11-12-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of November 15, 2021.  This revised episode from October 2013 is the first in a series this year of winter-related episodes. MUSIC – ~ 21 sec – Lyrics: “Summer's over, winter's coming.  Summer's gone, the days were long; now the moonlight froze the dawn.  Summer's over, winter's coming.” That's part of “Winter is Coming,” from the Harrisonburg and Rockingham County, Va.-based band, The Steel Wheels.  It sets the stage for exploring a characteristic feathered feature of the transition from fall to winter.  To start, we drop in on a chattering crowd of eager flyers, who then hear their long-distance flights being announced but no planes are taking off.  If this sounds like a huge airport headache instead of a water event, well, just have a listen for about 35 seconds.SOUNDS and VOICES - ~36 sec – Voice call-outs: “Sora.  Snowy Egret.  Green Heron.  Osprey.  Least Tern.  Piping Plover.  Broad-winged Hawk.”You've been listening to the names and sounds of seven kinds of birds that are known to spend summer in Virginia and then typically migrate out of the Commonwealth for winter.  Fall's arrival means the departure from the Commonwealth of many species of birds—including the first six you just heard—who may nest in spring and summer around Virginia's aquatic areas.  Fall also brings seasonal migrations of land-based birds—including the seventh species you heard, the forest-dwelling Broad-winged Hawk—that travel over watery areas of Virginia, particularly the Chesapeake Bay and the Delmarva Peninsula.  In fact, the concentration of hawks and other migrants along Virginia's Eastern Shore makes it an important and popular location for monitoring bird migration, and the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory maintains a migrant-counting platform in Kiptopeke State Park in Northampton County.  Among various programs at the Observatory, Kiptopeke Hawkwatch has been conducted at that location since 1977.  In fall 2021, over 17,000 migrating hawks and other raptors had been recorded as of late October. Thanks to Lang Elliott for permission to use the other bird sounds, from the Stokes Field Guide to Bird Songs, and to several Virginia Tech colleagues for calling out the bird names.  Thanks also to The Steel Wheels for permission to use this week's music, and we close with about 20 more seconds of “Winter is Coming.” MUSIC – ~23 sec – Lyrics: “Summer's gone, we're movin' on, can't regret that frozen dawn.  Summer's over, winter's coming.  Summer's over, winter's coming.” 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 the show.  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 183, 10-14-13. “Winter is Coming,” from the 2015 album “We've Got a Fire,” is copyright by The Steel Wheels, used with permission.  More information about The Steel Wheels is available online at http://www.thesteelwheels.com/.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio in Episode 292, 11-30-15. The sounds of Sora, Snowy Egret, Green Heron, Osprey, Least Tern, Piping Plover, and Broad-winged Hawk 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/.Thanks to Eli Heilker, Sarah Karpanty, Kevin McGuire, and Tony Timpano for recording bird names.  Thanks to Dr. Karpanty also for her help in developing the idea for this episode. 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 An observation station for the Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory in Kiptopeke State Park, Northampton County, Virginia, October 7, 2007.  The chart listed the birds of prey that had been counted to date during that year's fall migration on Virginia's Eastern Shore. North American migratory bird flyways.  Map by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, accessed online at https://www.fws.gov/birds/management/flyways.php, 11/16/21. SOURCES Used for Audio Coastal Virginia Wildlife Observatory, online at http://www.cvwo.org/. Alice Jane Lippson and Robert L. Lippson, Life in the Chesapeake Bay-3rdEdition, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, Md., 2006. Chandler S. Robbins et al., A Guide to Field Identification of Birds of North America, St. Martin's Press, New York, N.Y., 2001. 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).U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Eastern Shore of Virginia National Wildlife Refuge, online at https://www.fws.gov/refuge/eastern_shore_of_virginia/. 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/.  Entries for the species mentioned in this episode are located online as follows:Broad-winged Hawk: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040089&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.Green Heron: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040028&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.Least Tern: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040186&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.Osprey: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040095&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.Piping Plover: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040120&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.Snowy Egret: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040033&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943.Sora: https://services.dwr.virginia.gov/fwis/booklet.html?&bova=040108&Menu=_.Taxonomy&version=18943. 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. Stan Tekiela, Birds of Virginia Field Guide, Adventure Publications, Inc., Cambridge, Minn., 2002. University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, “Animal Diversity Web,” online at https://animaldiversity.org/. Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (formerly Department of Game and Inland Fisheries), “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.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” and “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject categories. Following are links to several other winter-related episodes, including episodes on some birds that reside in Virginia typically only in winter (listed separately).  Please note that some of these episodes are being redone in late 2021 and early 2022; in those cases, the respective links below will have information on the updated episodes. Frost – Episode 597, 10-4-21.Freezing and ice – Episode 403, 1-15-18 (especially for grades K-3).Ice on ponds and lakes – Episode 404, 1-22-18 (especially for grades 4-8).Ice on rivers – Episode 406, 2-5-18 (especially for middle school grades).Polar Plunge®for Special Olympics – Episode 356, 2-20-17.Snow terms – Episode 300, 1-25-16.Snow physics and chemistry – Episode 407, 2-12-18 (especially for high school grades).Snow, sleet, and freezing rain – Episode 461, 2-25-19.Surviving freezing (by animals) – Episode 556, 12-21-20.Winter precipitation and water supplies – Episode 567, 3-8-21.Winter preparedness – Episode 553, 11-30-20.Water thermodynamics – Episode 195, 1-6-14. Bird-related Episodes Audubon Christmas Bird Count – Episode 294, 12-14-15.American Avocet – Episode 543, 9-21-20.Brant (goose) – Episode 502, 12-9-19.Canvasback (duck) – Episode 197, 1-20-14.Common Goldeneye (duck) – Episode 303, 2/15/16.Green-winged Teal (duck) – Episode 398, 12-11-17.Grebes (Horned and Red-necked) – Episode 233, 9-29-14.Loons – Episode 445, 11-5-18.Snow Goose – Episode 507, 1/13/20.Tundra Swan – Episode 554, 12-7-20.Winter birds sampler from the Chesapeake Bay area – Episode 565, 2-22-21. 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.2.4 – Plants and animals undergo a series of orderly changes as they grow and develop, including life cycles.2.5 – Living things are part of a system.3.4 – Adaptations allow organisms to satisfy life needs and resp

new york society bay university agency guide music ice broad natural earth fire state audio living game college north america frost world change surviving map accent animals cd dark north american steel wheels tech water xeno web index fall sora land rain pond press research ocean weather government education birds plants foundation voice chesapeake bay native baltimore fish chesapeake snow environment images green va cambridge adaptations msonormal commonwealth stream menu robbins normal worddocument zoom donotshowrevisions citizens voices hawk environmental dynamic times new roman calibri trackmoves trackformatting punctuationkerning saveifxmlinvalid ignoremixedcontent compatibility breakwrappedtables dontgrowautofit latentstyles deflockedstate latentstylecount latentstyles style definitions msonormaltable table normal donotpromoteqf lidthemeother lidthemeasian x none snaptogridincell wraptextwithpunct useasianbreakrules mathpr mathfont cambria math brkbin brkbinsub smallfrac dispdef lmargin rmargin defjc centergroup wrapindent intlim subsup narylim undovr defunhidewhenused defsemihidden defqformat defpriority lsdexception locked priority semihidden unhidewhenused qformat name normal name title name default paragraph font name subtitle name strong name emphasis name table grid name placeholder text name no spacing name light shading name light list name light grid name medium shading name medium list name medium grid name dark list name colorful shading name colorful list name colorful grid name light shading accent name light list accent name light grid accent name revision name list paragraph name quote name intense quote name dark list accent name colorful shading accent name colorful list accent name colorful grid accent name subtle emphasis name intense emphasis name subtle reference name intense reference name book title name bibliography name toc heading shenandoah biology teal grade special olympics colorful md brant signature bio freezing watershed transcript ornithology virginia tech ls atlantic ocean natural resources wildlife service grades k observatory name normal indent name list name list bullet name list number name closing name signature name body text name body text indent name list continue name message header name salutation name date name body text first indent name note heading name block text name document map name plain text name e name normal web name normal table name no list name outline list name table simple name table classic name table colorful name table columns name table list name table 3d name table contemporary name table elegant name table professional name table subtle name table web name balloon text name table theme name plain table name grid table light name grid table light accent dark accent colorful accent name list table processes entries harrisonburg ar sa eastern shore zoology minn taxonomy cosgrove msohyperlink wildlife resources audubon society all about birds osprey sections life sciences ben cosgrove birdsongs stormwater canvasback delmarva peninsula lang elliott loons policymakers msobodytext bmp rockingham county acknowledgment virginia department michigan museum robert l johns hopkins university press cumberland gap sols kevin mcguire northampton county tmdl virginia society polar plunge inland fisheries ebird living systems virginia standards water center space systems audio notes
Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 15, 2021: A look at 'missing middle housing' and remediation work at Acme Visible Records in Crozet

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 15, 2021 12:53


WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music and tomorrow night at 7 p.m.: Classical. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! On today’s show:The Village of Rivanna CAC gets an update on what middle missing housing is A recap of what’s been dropped off at solid waste centers operated by one of the Rivanna authorities Work takes places this work to help remediate an industrial waste site in CrozetLet’s begin the week with a status report on the pandemic. The Virginia Department of Health reports a seven-day average of 1,305 cases a day with 871 reported this morning. The percent positivity is at 5.4 percent, slightly up from 5.3 on Friday. There are 32 new cases in the Blue Ridge Health District and the percent positivity is at 4.7 percent. There have been five new deaths reported in the District since Friday.Belmont Bridge updateThe first major traffic shift of the Belmont Bridge is underway. All vehicular traffic will be routed to the southbound portion of the bridge, according to a project update sent out by the city of Charlottesville. New temporary traffic signals have been installed to control the new alignment. Construction got underway this year after many years of planning. To learn more, visit the city’s website.General Assembly 2022The two major parties have nominated their leaders for the next session of the House of Delegates. Republicans have nominated Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15) as Speaker of the House and Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-1) as House Majority Leader. Republicans picked up five seats in the November 2 election to have a 52 to 48 edge when the General Assembly convenes on January 12. (press release)Current Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) has been nominated as House Minority Leader. Delegate Charniele Herring (D-46) will serve as Chair of the Democratic Caucus. (press release)Remediating AcmeCrews are working in Crozet this month at the site of the former Acme Visible Records. The company built storage and retrieval equipment for documents from 1954 until approximately 2001. During that time, they directed wastewater into a lagoon that contained multiple pollutants. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued a permit in September 2020 to the Wilson Jones Company to mitigate the harm based on a 2019 status report from the Virginia Department of Environmental quality. All of the buildings have been removed. (permit) (basis)Representatives of the company performing the mitigation sent an update the Crozet Community Association announcing that groundwater samples will be taken between November 10 and November 19. There are also plans this week to dig two wells to inject new chemicals into hazardous areas. “The wells will be installed to facilitate the completion of a pilot study for the injection of chemical oxidants which will treat the chlorinated solvent impacts in groundwater at the facility,” reads the report from a public relations company working with the Wilson Jones Company. As part of the permit, the land can never be used for residential purposes, schools, playgrounds, or daycare. Solid waste drop-off reportThe Rivanna Solid Waste Authority’s Board of Directors meets for the final time of 2021 tomorrow. The packet contains data about activity at the Ivy Materials Utilization Center and McIntire Recycling Center, both of which process all manner of recycling and solid waste. As of late September, 42 containers of paint cans have been shipped out of the facility. “Each container holds about 4,200 one-gallon paint cans,” reads an operations report. “Therefore, we have shipped about 176,400 paint cans since the program began in August 2016.”Leftover latex paint is re-processed back into commercial paint and oil-based paints are converted into fuel. Both September and October were busy months for the compostable food waste collection at the McIntire center, with over 8 tons being dropped off in each month. Commercial customers pay $178 a ton for disposal and residents are not charged. Over six hundred people participated in a Household Hazardous Waste Day held over two days in late September. Albemarle residents dropped off 22,640 pounds of furniture and mattresses on October 2, and Charlottesville residents disposed of 3,380 pounds. On October 9 the Ivy MUC accepted appliances and Albemarle residents parted with 6,800 pounds and 160 freon units. Charlottesville residents dropped off 1,400 pounds and 30 freon units. On October 16, unwanted tires had their turn and nearly 49 tons were processed for recycling. The RSWA continues to work through a permit modification with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to up the tonnage allowed at the Ivy MUC from 300 tons a day to 450 tons a day. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement. Interested in learning more about the Ancestral Monacan Homelands in Albemarle and Charlottesville along the Seminole Trail on which our 21st century communities have been built Interested in learning how to document the history, present, and future? Tomorrow the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society will hold a two-part event  in-person at Northside Library beginning at 5 p.m. First, UVA Professor of Anthropology Jeffrey Hantman will discuss his work, which includes which includes archaeology and history of the Monacan people, now with a new emphasis on how the Monacans were targeted by the eugenics movement. That will be followed at 6 p.m. with a workshop on cvillepedia, a collaborative encyclopedia. There will be a tutorial and I’ll be on hand to demonstrate how I use the site to keep the community informed. Professor Hantman’s talk will also be available through Zoom. Visit jmrl.org to learn more and to register for both programs. Missing MiddleFinally today, on Thursday, the 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee will discuss an 85-unit rezoning that developers say will provide “missing middle housing” in the form of triplexes, duplexes, and multifamily units. But what is missing middle? Tori Kanellopoulos is a senior planner with the county. “Missing middle housing is housing that is between single-family detached housing and larger apartments and is intended to be compatible and scale and form with existing single-family attached,” Kanellopoulos said. Kannellopoulos said these units tend be smaller and are more affordable because the cost of land is spread across multiple units. “This is a concept that has gained a lot of attention recently though many of these housing types have existed for decades or longer and actually used to be permitted through many localities,” Kannellopoulos said. “Now localities are relegalizing these units by updating their zoning ordinances.” In July, Albemarle Supervisors adopted the Housing Albemarle plan, which seeks to encourage the development of more units with the hope that greater inventory will help with affordability. Renters and morgage-holders who pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing costs are considered distressed. That’s in part because Albemarle is an affluent community with a high median income. “Median home values in the county are about $138,000 higher than the U.S. median and about $83,000 higher than the Virginia median,” Kannellopoulos said. “Forty-two percent of renter households and 18 percent of homeowner households in the county are cost-burdened, meaning they are paying more than 30 percent of their gross income toward housing.”The situation is perhaps worse when other factors are taken into consideration such as the cost of transportation, child care, health, and food. To encourage creation of more of these housing types, planners created the Middle Density Residential land use category and debuted this in the Crozet master plan, over the opposition of some on the Crozet Community Advisory Committee. “The category recommends a density of 6-12 units per acre with up to 18 units per acre by meeting middle density housing types or affordability criteria beyond baseline housing requirements,” Kannellopoulos said. Most members of the Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Committee were opposed to the rezoning of Breezy Hill for 80 units on about 76 acres due to it being technically above one unit per acre. VORCAC Chair Dennis Odinov expressed skepticism that allowing more density would translate to more affordable prices. “These things have good intentions but in reality a lot of times they just over a period of time they just don’t work,” Odinov said. “That’s my concern. I’m no oracle and I may be wrong but that’s my experience and what I’ve seen. I’ve lived a lot of different places.” Odinov wanted to hear more about why many in Crozet were opposed to the concept. Details about how this might be implemented can be seen in the appendix of the Crozet Master Plan. Take a look beginning on page 72 of the .PDFSpecial announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 13, 2021: Village of Rivanna group debriefs after approval of Breezy Hill rezoning; Habitat files second phase for Southwood Rezoning

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 13, 2021 17:24


In today’s first Patreon-fueled shout-out, are you a patron of the James Madison Regional Library system who suffers from a plague of library fines? If so, for the next week you can pay off your balance with a food donation that will go to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank. To participate in the Food for Fines program, bring a non-perishable item to the front desk and get a dollar off. Do note this does not apply to missing or damaged items. Patrons who are in better standing than me are also welcome to donate an item or many items. For more information, visit jmrl.org. Visit here for a list of the most wanted itemsOn today’s show: A look at several upcoming developments in Albemarle County including the second phase for Southwood and a three-story self storage building in Crozet  More than 83 percent of adult Virginians are fully vaccinatedThe Village of Rivanna Community Advisory Committee debriefs after a rezoning vote did not go the way members wantedGreyhound has a new owner, and Virginia launches bus service from far Southwest Virginia to the nation’s capital On Friday, Governor Ralph Northam announced that 83 percent of the adult population in Virginia is now fully vaccinated. Also on Friday, the Virginia Department of Health reported the percent positivity dropped to 5.3 percent, on a day when the seven-day average for new cases is 1,328. But there are hotspots emerging across the country. Vermont is experiencing its worst surge yet, with a record 595 cases on Thursday and 505 cases on Friday according to the website VTDigger.Dr. Costi Sifri, director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System, said colder parts of the country are beginning to see the increase. “Just as we’re entering the cold and flu season, we’re also entering the season where we may see increased transmission of COVID just because we’re going into the winter months,” Dr. Sifri said. Dr. Sifri said COVID still represents a significant risk and he recommended people continue to wear masks in indoor public spaces. Thanksgiving is less than two weeks and Dr. Sifri emphasized caution.“One thing I’d want to emphasize is the importance of boosters for people who are vulnerable,” Dr. Sifri said. In the Blue Ridge Health District, ten percent of children between 5 and 11 have been vaccinated during the first week a reduced Pfizer dose has been available.The Virginia Supreme Court has rejected three Republican nominees to serve as Special Masters in the next phase of the redistricting process. In October, a 16-member redistricting commission failed to reach consensus on maps for legislative districts for both the General Assembly and the U.S. House of Representatives. Senate Democratic Leader Richard Saslaw petitioned the Court to disqualify the three Republican nominees, claiming conflicts of interest due to their previous work on creating maps.The Virginia Supreme Court agreed.“The Court intends to appoint Special Masters who are qualified and do not have a conflict of interest,” reads a November 12 letter from Chief Justice Donald Lemons. “Although the Special Master candidates are to be nominated by legislative leaders of a particular party, the nominees… will serve as Officers of the Court in a quasi-judicial capacity.”Justice Lemons said that nominees must not consult with political parties once they have been appointed. One of the Republican nominees, Thomas M. Bryan, had been hired by the Republican Party of Virginia as a consultant on using 2020 U.S. Census data for redistricting. That information had not been disclosed in the nominating materials. Republicans have until Monday at 5 p.m. to submit three new names, and Democrats are being asked to submit one more name due to a potential issue with one of their three nominees. For more information, visit the Supreme Court’s website. The national bus company Greyhound has been purchased by a German firm called FlixMobility. They operate a service called Flixbus which operates in 36 countries in addition to the United States. Greyhound serves 2,400 stops across the country, and has a ridership of 16 million passengers. “Buses as a sustainable and accessible alternative are now more important than ever,” reads an October 21, 2021 press release.  “Fluctuations in the cost of gas, the recent escalation of car prices, and climate change concerns have increased the interest of many consumers in finding alternatives to individual car usage.” For $46 million cash and $32 million in future payments, Flixmobility will now own the Greyhound name and the bus fleet, but not any real estate or stops. Flixbus has been running buses in U.S. since 2018. Meanwhile, on Monday the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation will launch the Highland Rhythms service between Bristol and Washington D.C. This is the fourth Virginia Breeze intrastate route to be funded by the state agency, which will be operated by Megabus. A ceremony was held this morning at the Birthplace of Country Music in Bristol (read more in the Bristol Herald-Courier)Time now to take a look at recent land use applications in Albemarle County.First, a site development plan has been submitted for a new Chipotle restaurant to be located in Hollymead Town Center. Before the pandemic, there would be site plan review meetings for the public to comment, but those have not been held. However, the Albemarle officials are looking to begin to resume the public process. “These projects are ‘by-right’, which means that if the proposed plans meet the minimum requirements of the County’s zoning, site plan, or subdivision ordinances, they must be approved,” reads the notice for this application. (take a look)A TGI Friday’s Restaurant used to operate on the site and the existing building will be replaced and a drive-through window will be installed in the new building. Another site plan has been filed for a three-story self-storage facility at the intersection of Brownsville Road, Route 240, and Rockfish Gap Turnpike (U.S. 250).  The zoning on the site is Highway Commercial and a gas station used to operate on the site. That building and a couple of others will be removed to make way for the structure. (take a look)Southwood Phase 2In October, Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville filed the second phase of their rezoning for the redevelopment of the Southwood Mobile Home Park. The rezoning would amend the first phase to add 93.32 acres from R-2 to the Neighborhood Model District. “Phase 2 is planned within the project's existing mobile home park where development will occur in phases so as to limit the impact to the existing residents,” reads the narrative. “The resident planners who designed and wrote the Code of Development for Phase I has provided input in this next phase that the form, density, and uses established with Phase I should continue into Phase 2.”This phase of redevelopment would include up to 1,000 housing units in a mix of single-family houses, duplexes, townhomes, and apartment buildings. There would also be another 60,000 square feet of non-residential space. (read the Code of Development)Several blocks in phase one are under construction. *You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement, and time now for another subscriber-supported public service announcement. Are you using too many chemicals in your yard and garden? Would you like to learn more about alternatives? The Piedmont Master Gardeners will a free online information session on the topic Monday November 15 at 3 p.m.  Participants will learn how to keep their landscapes safe and healthy using Integrated Pest Management. The Center at Belvedere will host the session, which carries the name “Why and How to Reduce Chemical Use in your Yard and Garden.” Learn more and register at thecentercville.org.  Albemarle County staff have begun work on the update of the Comprehensive Plan with a public kick-off expected sometime in January. A major aspect of the current plan is a growth management policy which designates specific areas for density. This plan was last updated in 2015 and since then Supervisors have adopted several other policies, such as the Housing Albemarle plan.“To accommodate this growth, the County will need to add approximately 11,750 new units to our housing stock over the next 20 years,” reads Objective 1 of the plan, which was adopted by Supervisors in July. “The county must support the development of an additional 2,719 units to fully accommodate projected household growth through 2040.” One of the growth areas is the Village of Rivanna and their Community Advisory Committee met on November 8. Most of its members are not happy with the Board of Supervisors 4-2 vote in October for a rezoning from rural area to R-1 for an 80-unit single-family neighborhood called Breezy Hill. (staff report) (Village of Rivanna Master Plan) (watch the meeting)Dennis Odinov is the group’s chair. “We all know how it turned out and we may be disappointed but what are lessons learned?” Odinov said. “Are there any lessons learned from this?” Members of the group thanked Supervisor Donna Price for her against the rezoning. Price was joined by Supervisor Ann Mallek. Southern Development had initially requested 200 units, but scaled back due to community opposition. The Village of Rivanna Master Plan designated the land as Neighborhood Density Residential, and a map describes that as up to three dwelling units per acre. Members of the CAC maintained the plan only allows one dwelling unit per acre. Neal Means said pressure from the group helped get the number to 80 but he does not have a positive view of Southern Development. “It just goes to show you that the developers really don’t care about the master plan at all and the arguments they made much later about it should be one unit per gross acre and not net, is just an argument,” Means said. “They’re going to try to get as much as they can any time they want, no matter what the master plan says.”Gross density is a simple calculation of the number of units divided by the size of the land. Net density subtracts from the size of the land the square footage that would be used for infrastructure or open space. In the case of Breezy Hill, the gross density was 1 unit per acre, but the net density was 1.4 per acres. To Means, that means the system is broken. “I don’t think the county’s master planning process is functioning well,” Means said. “I think it’s dysfunctional and it needs to be revisited.” Ultimately, elected officials make their decisions based on interpretation of master plans. Odinov said the current version of the plan was not clear enough to state the wishes of the community. “We have no language in the master plan that says one unit per acre, net,” Odinov said “We don’t say it in the verbiage.” The master plan also states that no new developments should be approved until specific transportation projects are built on U.S. 250. However such a directive is not permissible under Virginia law. In Virginia, localities cannot specifically ask for infrastructure to be built in exchange for a rezoning, but developers can volunteer to pay for projects in something called a proffer. “I thought it was a slap in the face,” said Paula Pagonakis. “I took it as a slap in the face when the developer said he could not provide any proffers because he would not get enough profit out of the project. I don’t know how much impact that had on the vote by the Supervisors but I felt a bit insulted.”In Charlottesville, Southern Development has agreed to contribute nearly $3 million upfront for the creation of a sidewalk on Stribling Avenue, a 170 units project on about 12 acres. If Council approves the rezoning, Southern Development will be paid back through the incremental revenue generated.Supervisor Donna Price voted against the rezoning but said the community pressure to reduce Breezy Hill’s scope resulted in a more palatable project. “Did we achieve everything?” Price asked. “No. But we came out I think a whole better strategically than if it had been at 160 or 130.”Price said she supported increased density in Crozet and voted for the 332-unit RST Residences near Forest Lakes. “Highly dense, but it is also right on a six-lane highway up there,” Price said. “I’ve tried to maintain a consistency of if you get to the periphery of development areas it should be less developed and as you move more toward the center of development it should be  more highly developed and more dense.” An update of the Village of Master Plan is not currently scheduled, according to county planner Tori Kanellopoulos. “It would need to be on the Community Development work program and we do have the Comprehensive Plan update that just started,” Kanellopoulos said. “That will take up a significant amount of resources.”I’ll have a report from the Crozet Community Advisory Committee in an upcoming edition of Charlottesville Community Engagement. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 602 (11-8-21): Photosynthesis Fun, Fundamentals, and Confluence with Climate Change

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (5:26).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 11-5-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of November 8, 2021. MUSIC – ~12 sec – instrumental. That's part of “Racing the Sun,” by The Faux Paws, on that group's 2021 self-titled album, from Great Bear Records.  It opens a revised episode from November 2013, where we explore a sun-driven process that's fundamental to life on earth: photosynthesis, the process where green plants and algae make food, using the energy in sunlight to store chemical energy in the form of glucose.  Photosynthesis is also… VOICES IN SKIT - ~1 min./57 sec. REPORTER: We break into this show to bring you exclusive audio from the Virginia Tech campus, where a shadowy team of scientists are tinkering with the process underlying all life on earth.  They haven't yet revealed their possibly nefarious plans, so let's listen in... SCIENTIST 1: With this terrarium, we have a model system to test our carbon dioxide-manipulation scheme, and soon we'll be ready to control earth's fundamental food-producing process... SCIENTISTS 1 and 2: Photosynthesis! SCIENTIST 2: Are all the components of the system ready?  Green plants with chlorophyll? SCIENTIST 1: Check! SCIENTIST 2: Soil with proper nutrients? SCIENTIST 1.  Check! SCIENTIST 2. Light? SCIENTIST 1.  Check! SCIENTIST 2.  Water? SCIENTIST 1.  Check! SCIENTIST 2.  Air with CO2? SCIENTIST 1.  CO2? SCIENTIST 2.  That's carbon dioxide! SCIENTIST 1.  Oh...right...I mean, check! SCIENTIST 2.  Let the photosynthesis start!  Engage monitoring device! SCIENTIST 1.  CO2 taken in from the air...water and nutrients being absorbed through roots...light falling on leaves.  All systems go!  Light energy is driving CO2 and water to combine and form glucose, the chemical-energy form, while releasing oxygen. SCIENTIST 2.  Apply the CO2 inhibitor! SCIENTIST 1.  Lid applied!  CO2 source blocked...system CO2 levels dropping rapidly...plants responding as expected, using up available CO2. SCIENTIST 2.  Reverse manipulation!  Apply the CO2 increaser! SCIENTIST 1. Lid removed!  CO2 added...plants responding.  Wait, they're responding too fast!  They're growing beyond the walls!  One has me...aieeeeeeee! SCIENTIST 2.  Now it's got me, too!  Noooooooo..... REPORTER: Well, this might be a good time for us to return to our regular show.  Back to you.... END VOICES IN SKIT Unlike this skit, with its far-fetched human-eating plants, there's nothing make-believe about Earth life's reliance on photosynthesis using sunlight, chlorophyll, nutrients, water, and carbon dioxide to make food.  Moreover, photosynthesis is a fundamental aspect of understanding and responding to climate change.  Photosynthesis millions of years ago created the hydrocarbon compounds that constitute today's fossil fuels, and photosynthesis now—absorbing and storing some of the carbon dioxide released in fossil fuel burning—has an important role in reducing Earth's carbon dioxide levels, warming, and other climate-change impacts.  For example, the capacity for photosynthesizing trees to take up atmospheric carbon dioxide was one aspect of the “Declaration on Forests and Land Use” at the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, or COP26, in Glasgow, Scotland, from October 31 to November 12, 2021. Thanks to Eli Heilker and John Kidd for participating in this episode.  Thanks also to Andrew VanNorstrand for permission to use part of “Racing the Sun.”  We close with another musical selection appropriate for the climate challenges facing the COP26 meeting and all of us.  Here's about 25 seconds of “On a Ship,” by Blacksburg, Va., musician Kat Mills. MUSIC - ~ 24 sec – Lyrics: “We are riding on a ship,” then 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 show.  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 186, 11-4-13. “Racing the Sun,” from the 2021 album “The Faux Paws,” is copyright by Great Bear Records, used with permission of Andrew VanNorstrand.  More information about The Faux Paws is available online at https://thefauxpawsmusic.com/.  More information about Great Bear Records is available online at https://www.greatbearmusic.com/. “On a Ship,” from the 2015 album “Silver,” is copyright by Kat Mills, used with permission.  Accompanists on the song are Ida Polys, vocals; Rachel Handman, violin; and Nicholas Polys, banjo.   More information about Kat Mills is available online at http://www.katmills.com/.  This music was used previously by Virginia Water Radio most recently in Episode 517, 3-23-20. Virginia Water Radio thanks John Kidd, formerly of the Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation, and Eli Heilker, a graduate of Virginia Tech in English who served an internship in Fall 2013 with the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, for their participation in this episode.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 Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation demonstration of plant uptake of carbon dioxide (CO2) during photosynthesis.  A terrarium (left) is attached via gas-transporting tubing to a CO2 monitor at right.  Photo taken in Blacksburg, Va., October 2013.  Diagram explaining carbon dioxide (CO2) uptake by trees and other woody plants during photosynthesis, resulting in carbon storage, or “carbon sequestration,” a key concept in the issue of climate change.  Diagram courtesy of John Seiler, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Environmental Conservation.Red Maple leaves in Blacksburg, Va., on October 30, 2013, in which green chlorophyll pigment was breaking down as photosynthesis and chlorophyll production in the leaves were stopping with the approach of winter.  The breakdown of chlorophyll in the fall allows pigments of other colors in the leaves to be revealed.  More information on fall leaf-color change is available in “The Miracle of Fall,” University of Illinois Extension, online at https://web.extension.illinois.edu/fallcolor/default.cfm. SOURCES USED FOR AUDIO AND OFFERING MORE INFORMATION Rick Groleau, “Illuminating Photosynthesis,” Public Broadcasting System (PBS) and WGBH-Boston, “NOVA” program, November 1, 2001, online at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/photosynthesis.html. NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology, “Global Climate Change” Website, online at https://climate.nasa.gov/.  Specific pages used were the following:“A breathing planet, off balance,” by Kate Ramsayer and Carol Rasmussen, November 11, 2015, online at https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2364/a-breathing-planet-off-balance/; and“Frequently Asked Questions,” online at https://climate.nasa.gov/faq/. John Seiler, John Groninger, and John Peterson, Forest Biology and Dendrology, Virginia Tech Department of Forest Resources and Conservation, Blacksburg, Va., 2009.Smithsonian Institution, “Ocean—Find Your Blue/What Are Fossil Fuels?”; online at https://ocean.si.edu/conservation/gulf-oil-spill/what-are-fossil-fuels. 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), October 31—November 12, 2021, online at https://ukcop26.org/.  [October 31-November 12, 2021]; for information on photosynthesizing forests serving as “sinks” for carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases,” see particularly “Glasgow Leaders' Declaration on Forests and Land Use,” November 2, 2021, online at https://ukcop26.org/glasgow-leaders-declaration-on-forests-and-land-use/. 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 “Plants,” “Science,” and “Weather/Climate/Natural Disasters” subject categories. Following are links to some other episodes related to climate change. Episode 231, 9-15-14 – Exploring Climate Change Basics, with Examples from Assateague Island National Seashore and Shenandoah National Park.Episode 312, 4-18-16 – Student's Research Digs into Streamside Soils, Rainfall Rates, and Greenhouse Gases. 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 ProcessesK.7 – Plants and animals have basic needs and life processes.1.4 – Plants have basic life needs (including water) and functional parts that allow them to survive.2.5 – Living things are part of a system.4.3 – Organisms, including humans, interact with one another and with the nonliving components in the ecosystem. Grades K-5: Earth and Space Systems3.6 – Soil is important in ecosystems.3.7 – There is a water cycle and water is important to life on Earth. Grades K-5: Earth Resources2.8 – Plants are important natural resources.3.8 – Natural events and humans influence ecosystems.4.8 – Virginia has important natural resources.5.9 – Conservation of energy resources is important. Grade 66.4 – There are basic sources of energy and that energy can be transformed.6.6 – Water has unique physical properties and has a role in the natural and human-made environment.6.7 – Air has properties and the Earth's atmosphere has structure and is dynamic.6.9 – Humans impact the environment and individuals can influence public policy decisions related to energy and the environment. Life ScienceLS.4 – There are chemical processes of energy transfer which are important for life.LS.5 – Biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem.LS.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. 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.ES.11 – The atmosphere is a complex, dynamic system subject to long-and short-term variations.ES.12 – The Earth's weather and climate result from the interaction of the sun's energy with the atmosphere, oceans, and the land. BiologyBIO.2 – Chemical and biochemical processes are essential for life. BIO.8 – Dynamic equilibria exist within populations, communities, and ecosystems.  2015 Social Studies SOLs Grades K-3 Civics Theme3.12 – Importance of government in community, Virginia, and the United States, including government protecting rights and property of individuals. Virginia Studies CourseVS.10 – Knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia. 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 th

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Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 8, 2021: Charlottesville's Woolley era to begin on Dec. 1; Fifeville group seeks facilitator for Cherry Avenue plan listening sessions

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 8, 2021 16:42


Let’s begin the show with the first of two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. Charlottesville 350 is the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Charlottesville 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. To learn more about their most active campaigns, including a petition drive to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/cville350On today’s show:Charlottesville selects a Pennsylvania administrator as the third interim City Manager in three and a half years The Fifeville Neighborhood Association seeks a facilitator to help with implementation of the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan A Charlottesville television pioneer has diedCOVID vaccinations for those aged 5 to 11 have begun  And a Louisa County Supervisors wins a seventh term on a four-vote marginThis weekend, vaccinations of children between the ages of 5 to 11 began in the Blue Ridge Health District. According to spokeswoman Kathryn Goodman, there were 127 vaccinations in that range at the Community Vaccination Center in Seminole Square and Pediatric Associates vaccinated 565 children. The Blue Ridge Health District and the University of Virginia Health System begin administering shots today.  “I think this is a really big step forward and the COVID vaccine is one of the most well-studied vaccines at this point in history,” said Dr. Debbie-Ann Shirley, an expert on pediatric infectious diseases at the UVA Health System. “There have been hundreds of millions of doses already given. There have been clinical trials done in adults, young adults, adolescents, and now children in the 5 to 11 age group.”Federal officials approved the Pfizer vaccine for children last week, which uses a smaller dose than the one given to people 12 and above. Dr. Shirley said that lower dose was suggested through the testing process. Last week, she penned an article on UVA Today outlining the work that has gone into producing the shots. “Using that low dose vaccine, they still make really high levels of antibody that were comparable to the same antibody levels that we’ve seen in adolescents and older adults who received higher doses,” Dr. Shirley said. Dr. Shirley said Moderna has submitted their data to the Food and Drug Administration for approval, and Pfizer will soon submit data for a vaccine for even younger children. This morning the Virginia Department of Health reports another 913 new cases and the seven-day average of new cases at 1,276 a day. The percent positivity has increased slightly to 5.6 percent, up from 5.4 percent on Thursday. The Blue Ridge Health District reports another 42 cases today and there have been five more reported fatalities since Thursday.The man who started Charlottesville’s first commercial television station in 1973 has died. Harold Wright passed away on Saturday at his home at Lake Monticello. WVIR launched on March 11, 1973 using $500,000 of capital as well as second-hand equipment. That’s according to a story published this morning on NBC29.com. Wright retired from the station in January 2020, not long after it was purchased by Gray Communications in March 2019. Louisa County Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes has won re-election to a seventh term representing the Patrick Henry District. A canvas and recount on Friday that included remaining provisional and absentee ballots extended Barnes’ election-night lead of one vote to four votes over challenger William D. Woody Jr. According to coverage on Twitter by Tammy Purcel of Engage Louisa, Woody would have had ten days to ask for a recount but he conceded the race. Charlottesville’s Fifeville Neighborhood Association and the city government are seeking a consultant to help with a series of listening sessions to help implement the Cherry Avenue Small Area Plan. That document was produced by consulting staff at the Thomas Jefferson Planning District and approved as an addendum to the city’s current Comprehensive Plan on March 1. On that same night Council adopted an affordable housing plan as the first milestone in the Cville Plans Together initiative. The neighborhood association seeks a “third-party facilitator to help co-design and lead up to three Anti-Displacement, Land Acquisition, and Development Working Sessions.” The goal is to move forward with  implementation of the plan.  (read the request for proposals)The firm Rhodeside & Harwell will not pursue this request for proposals, according to Cville Plans Together project manager Jennifer Koch. Her team is familiar with the Cherry Avenue Plan.“We reviewed this plan, as we reviewed other completed Small Area Plans, and looked to support recommendations related to fostering a mix of uses and more housing options/density at levels that respect the current scale of the neighborhood,” Koch wrote in an email this morning. “The affordability framework and anti-displacement mechanisms built into the plan (including, but not limited to, the Sensitive Community Areas) also align with goals in the Cherry Avenue SAP.”Since adoption of the plan in March, several properties have exchanged hands. In April, Woodard Properties purchased the Cherry Avenue Shopping Center as well as vacant land immediately behind. In July, the company bought a vacant lot in the 800 block of the busy roadway. Also in July an LLC called Project New Life bought undeveloped land on Cherry Avenue at the intersection of 7 1/2th Street. The Future Land Use Map in the draft Comprehensive Plan calls for Cherry Avenue west of Roosevelt Brown Avenue to be in the new Medium Intensity Residential, which calls for increased housing opportunities “along neighborhood corridors, near community amenities.” The areas around Nalle Street and King Street north of Cherry Avenue east of Roosevelt Brown are designated as “low-intensity residential (sensitive community areas)” to “allow for additional housing choice, and tools to mitigate displacement, within existing residential neighborhoods that have high proportions of populations that may be sensitive to displacement.”But will that stop those with wealth from purchasing single-family homes that would then be protected from additional density? In April, a house in the 700 block of Nalle Street sold for $700,000, or 85.83 percent over the 2021 assessment. October’s property transactions will be posted soon for paid subscribers of Charlottesville Community Engagement. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement and it’s time for the second Patreon-fueled shout-out. WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music beginning Tuesday, Nov 9th, 7 p.m.: Early & Baroque. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! At the same time ballots were being counted in Louisa County on Friday afternoon, City Council introduced Marc Woolley as the next interim city manager. Woolley recently resigned as Business Administrator in Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania. The city has U.S. Census 2020 population of 50,099. Deputy City Manager Ashley Marshall and Sam Sanders will remain in place. “Together with the assistance of staff, Sam, Ashley, and Council, I will be focusing on some key issues currently before Charlottesville,” Woolley said. “Mainly the budget and the completion of the Comprehensive Plan.” Woolley will begin work on December 1. The process to find a permanent city manager will resume once again in April. Woolley is a native of Wilmington, Delaware who went to law school at Boston College. He’s worked as general counsel for the Philadelphia Housing Authority, two positions at the Delaware River Port Authority, three positions at the Hershey Trust Company, and the position in Harrisburg. (read his resume)“I’ve been with the City of Harrisburg for the past four years as the Business Administrator,” Woolley said.Harrisburg has a form of municipal government where the executive and legislative branches are separate, so a “strong mayor” oversees department heads. The business administrator position is equivalent to a city manager. “All administration functions flowed through me except for the city solicitor,” Woolley said. According to an article on Pennsylvania Live, Woolley’s resignation had been expected to begin on November 12, but Mayor Eric Papenfuse made that effective November 1 after learning of the Woolley’s decision to leave Harrisburg. Papenfuse was defeated the next day in his bid for a third term, though he ran as a write-in. Anticipating questions from the press about Woolley’s careee, Councilor Lloyd Snook led a friendly cross-examination of his career history after resigning from the Philadelphia Housing Authority. Snook:“Looking at the next ten years or so of your career it seems like you were often put in a position of having to kind of clean up a mess. Is that an accurate assessment?”Woolley:“I think to first assess what the issues were and then accordingly if there were things that needed to be done to implement those policies in order to rectify anything.” Harrisburg has been considered by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a distressed municipality since 2010. That requires creation of a Financial Recovery Plan which is called the Harrisburg Strong Plan. The latest financial report for the capital city is from 2019.  Snook:“When you got to Harrisburg there were shall we say some financial difficulties that you were having to unravel.”Woolley:“Some financial difficulties. We are in Act 47 which is for distressed municipalities in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Years before I arrived in Harrisburg there were a number of bond deals that were done and saddled the residents with a lot of debt and turns out they just couldn’t pay it. The city couldn’t pay it back. The state sent in a receiver to develop what they call the Strong Plan. They sold off a lot of assets, almost $400 million worth of assets, applied those to the debt and set up payments for other general obligation debts. When I arrived in Harrisburg, we were rounding the corner. This year and actually starting last year, was able to entertain actually getting back our credit rating. We didn’t have a credit rating. Looking to refinance debt and put out for capital projects. It’s a 180 degree turn from where they were and I think Harrisburg is going to better for it and I think they’re going to get a credit rating. Not as good as Charlottesville, but they’re going to try.”The city has held a AAA bond rating from Standards and Poor’s since 1964 and a AAA bond rating from Moody’s since 1973. For the past several years, the city has been steadily increasing debt-financing for capital projects, including several million a year for affordable housing projects and $75 million for the renovation of Buford Middle School. The next budget may include a property tax increase to help pay the debt service. Woolley will oversee creation of that next document but acknowledged Council will be reopening the pubic process for a permanent manager next spring. (Routine advice wanted for city bonds, October 26, 2021)“This is not necessarily the transition,” Woolley said. “The transition will occur when the new city manager is appointed through the process that you’ve described in April but right now there are certain acute issues that need to be taken care of, mainly the budget and the Comprehensive Plan.” Woolley said his role is to lay the foundation for that person. While Charlottesville’s government is not considered distressed, the separate Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority is considered a troubled agency by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Watch the whole press briefing which included comments and questions from members of the community. The entire event was just over an hour long and is on the city’s streaming archive. (watch)Former City Manager Chip Boyles recently took a job as the executive director of the George Washington Regional Commission, the planning district around Fredericksburg. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 4, 2021: Study underway for alternative to Rassawek site for Zion Crossroads water intake; Council to make leadership announcement on Friday

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 4, 2021 14:49


Let’s begin today with a Patreon-fueled shout-out! The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign, an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. The leaves have started to fall as autumn set in, and as they do, this is a good time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!On today’s show:More details about the next phase of public housing redevelopment in CharlottesvilleCouncil to make a leadership announcement Friday at 3 p.m. UVA Health System reports vaccination numbersLouisa Supervisor Fitzgerald Barnes holds a one-vote lead over his challengerAn overview of the Central Virginia Small Business Development CenterAnd Louisa Supervisors an update on a plan to bring water from the James River to Zion CrossroadsWe begin the day with an announcement of something that’s happening tomorrow. City Council will meet at 3 p.m. for an open meeting with the one word description of “Personnel.” City Communications Director Brian Wheeler explained in an email to me this morning that it will be a leadership announcement. There is no interim city manager in place. What will happen? Leave your guess in the comments. (meeting info)There’s a very close race in one of Louisa County’s magisterial districts. In the Patrick Henry District, incumbent Fitzgerald Barnes has a one-vote lead over challenger William Woody Jr. Qualified absentee ballots can be counted up until tomorrow at noon. Thanks to Tammy Purcell of Engage Louisa for the heads-up. Employees at the University of Virginia Health System had a deadline of November 1 to get a COVID vaccine. Wendy Horton is the CEO of the UVA Health System. “At this point today, we are at 98.4 percent fully vaccinated or exempt as a health system and this includes UVA Community Health as well,” Horton said.However, that leaves 173 employees who will either resign or be terminated for non-compliance. Horton said that includes 83 people who directly work with patients and that number includes 43 registered nurses. People who refuse the vaccine will be suspended without pay for a certain period of time for reflection. Those with approved medical exemptions must have a COVID test each week. Today the Virginia Department of Health reported 1,494 new cases and the seven-day percent positive rate dropped to 5.4 percent. Another 69 deaths have been reported since Tuesday. The Blue Ridge Health District reported 58 new cases today. The percent positivity in the district is 5.1 percent. Yesterday, the City of Charlottesville held a public meeting for the next phase of redevelopment at the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Carrie Rainey is an urban planner in the city’s Department of Neighborhood Development Services.“What we’re looking at right now is a final site for what is currently a by-right project to build a new apartment building with structured parking at 715 Sixth Street SE,” Rainey said.Riverbend Development is working with the CRHA on this project, continuing a partnership that has also been involved with Crescent Halls and the two phases at South First Street. CRHA has a new redevelopment coordinator in Brandon Collins, formerly with the Public Housing Association of Residents. “Our resident planners at 6th Street have been working diligently on this plan and I think it really reflects CRHA’s approach to resident-led planning and we’re confident this is the best use of this site,” Collins said. The project is at the corner of Monticello Avenue and 6th Street SE. Six of the existing townhouse units will be removed in this first phase at this property. “The reason we’re taking this approach is because we want to ensure that we have a promise and a priority to the residents of public housing that no one will be displaced throughout the redevelopment process,” said Ashley Davies, vice president at Riverbend Development. In all of these redevelopment projects, the land will continue to be owned by CRHA, but the actual structure will be owned by a nonprofit holding company connected to CRHA. The height of the building has not been finalized.“It’s going to be a three or four story building,”  Davies said, “We’re still working with the resident planners to determine the exact height of the building and number of units, but for now the site plan shows this as a three-story building and 39 units.”The current zoning is Downtown Extended which would allow for that height. There would be at least 40 parking spaces in a structure beneath the building. The goal is to get the site plan approved in order to help qualify an application for Low Income Housing Tax Credits from the entity formerly known as the Virginia Housing Development Authority. Davies said a master plan is in development for the entire four-acre site, but there is no timeline for how that will proceed. “Those conversations are really just beginning to understand what the overall needs are for that area,” Davies said Comments brought up during the site plan conference included landscaping, parking requirements, and pedestrian safety.  The community garden maintained and operated by the Urban Agriculture Collective will be removed to make way for the new units. NDS staff will make comments on the site plan and submit those back to the development team later this month. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement. Time for the second of two Patreon-fueled shout-outs: Do you suffer from Classical Music Insecurity Complex? That is, you like classical music you hear, but you feel intimidated by all the stuffy etiquette and specialized knowledge? Suffer no more!WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music beginning Tuesday, Nov 9th, 7 p.m.: Early & Baroque. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! The seven-member Louisa County Board of Supervisors got an update on Monday on the water supply plan for Zion Crossroads, but they also got a pitch from the Central Virginia Small Business Development Center (CVSBDC). The entity is partially funded by the Small Business Administration.“We’re funded by the [Small Business Administration] and the localities that we serve to provide business advising services to individual localities,’ said Greg Dorazio, the assistant director of the CVSBDC. The CVSBDC covers ten counties stretching from Nelson County to Culpeper County from its headquarters in Charlottesville. The idea is to level the playing field for small businesses through counseling. “We have access to research and resources including capital, access to technical experts,” Dorazio said. Last year, the Charlottesville Investment Collaborative became the small business center’s fiscal partner.“Their microloan program is one of the best ways for small businesses to get capital and a lot of folks don’t really know about it,” Dorazio said. Last year during the pandemic, the small business center provided more than double the number of hours of working with clients from around 2,200 hours to over 5,000. That’s in part because of the transition to virtual meetings. “When we’re talking about the client service time, that’s one-on-one with a business owner,” Dorazio said. “We’re really helping them figure out what is the problem they’re facing right now? What are the decisions they need to make? And what do we need to do to help them get the resources they need to make good decisions about their business and continue to grow and move forward?”Dorazio was before the Louisa Board of Supervisors to ask for referrals for businesses as well as $21,249 in funding for the next fiscal year. That decision will come during the budget cycle.The Louisa Board of Supervisors also got an update on progress to build a waterline from the James River to Zion Crossroads. Louisa and Fluvanna are both members of the James River Water Authority, an entity that exists for the purpose.The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers will have to grant a permit for the project and the James River Water Authority was about to submit one that included an intake at the site of Rassawek, an important site in the history of the Monacan Indian Nation. Justin Curtis is with Aqualaw, a firm hired to prepare and submit the permit.“At our request, that application has been put on hold while we evaluate an alternative a site a couple of miles up the river,” Curtis said. “We’re doing that in coordination with the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (VDHR) as well as the Monacan Indian Nation.”Curtis said the decision point for the James River Water Authority will be whether to pursue the alternative, or proceed with the Rassawek site. That could come in December or January. The Rassawek site was selected in 2013 and two of three required permits had been granted. All of the planning work had been conducted.“That site had been selected because it was the shortest, it was the least expensive, and it followed a bunch of existing corridors and lines which is utility siting 101,” Curtis said. “Fewest number of landowners affected and it had the right water quality and quantity to meet our needs.”Curtis said the Monacans had been consulted, but their stance changed as the granting of the permit drew closer. The federal government recognized the tribe in January 2018. (Learn more about Rasswak from Cultural Heritage Partners)“To get the final permit we needed from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, we have to go through this process where have to mitigate any impacts to historical or cultural resources and that involves consultations with the tribes and certain other agencies and that added a lot of time and expense to the regulatory process,” Curtis said. Curtis said Alternative 1C, also known as the Forsyth site, is the preferred site for the Monacans. “And we ended up reaching an agreement which was memorialized in writing in January of this year and what we came to an agreement on was that if JRWA went and did a new archaeological study of that alternative site and that study did not find any evidence of buried human remains or historic burial sites, then the Monacans would not oppose the project and they would support the project and help us work through the remainder of the permitting process,” Curtis said. The first phase was completed in August and while historic materials were found, none of them were human remains. The second phase started on Monday and will be concluded the week of December 6. The results will be discussed at the next  meeting of the James River Water Authority on December 8. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 3, 2021: Republicans sweep Virginia as Youngkin aims to change Commonwealth's trajectory

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 12:27


Elections bring changes, and fundamental changes will likely come to the way Virginia is governed as Republicans appear to narrowly win all three statewide seats and regain the House of Delegates. Closer to home, Democrats continue to hold all of the seats on the City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. What will the landscape be like as 2022 begins? That’s for another day, for this installment of Charlottesville Community Engagement is solely about election returns:In this newsletter:Republicans narrowly win all three statewide seatsAn incumbent is ousted in the Charlottesville City School Board raceGraham Paige fends off a write-in candidateBob Babyok is defeated in Louisa County, while two Nelson incumbents hold onBut first, a Patreon-fueled shout-out. Colder temperatures are creeping in, and now is the perfect time to think about keeping your family warm through the holidays. Make sure you are getting the most out of your home with help from your local energy nonprofit, LEAP. LEAP wants you and yours to keep comfortable all year round, and offers FREE home weatherization to income- and age-qualifying residents. If you’re age 60 or older, or have an annual household income of less than $74,950, you may qualify for a free energy assessment and home energy improvements such as insulation and air sealing. Sign up today to lower your energy bills, increase comfort, and reduce energy waste at home!*As of this writing, the Virginia Department of Elections website has recorded 2,723 of Virginia’s 2,855 precincts have reported and Republican Glenn Youngkin has 50.68 percent of the vote to 48.55 percent for Democrat Terry McAuliffe. The difference is around 57,000 votes. These results are considered incomplete because qualified absentee ballots can be accepted through noon on November 5 and the results will be certified on November 15. These numbers will change but probably not very much. While none of the results here are technically complete, the Associated Press called the race for Youngkin after midnight last night and he took the stage in victory. “Alrighty Virginia, we won this thing,” Youngkin said. McAuliffe also appeared before supporters but did not offer a concession speech but appeared to continue his campaign for a return to the Governor’s mansion. “When Ralph and I were elected eight years ago, we had made our state open and welcoming but the fight continues,” McAuliffe said. McAuliffe then listed several pieces of his platform.“We are going to continue that fight tonight and every day going forward,” McAuliffee said Youngkin takes over a Commonwealth that appears to be in good financial shape. Unemployment has dropped for sixteen months straight to a September figure of 3.8 percent. Virginia had a $2.6 billion surplus at the end of fiscal year 2021. In his comments, Youngkin called his victory a defining moment that will change the trajectory of the state. “Friends, we are going to start that transformation on day one,” Youngkin said More on that transformation later on in the newsletter If the results hold up, Youngkin will be sworn in on January 15. The 2022 General Assembly will convene three days before. The Republicans appear to have retaken the majority of the House of Delegates with 51 to 49 seats, according to information tallied by the Virginia Public Access Project. (VPAP)The Lieutenant Governor presides over the Senate which did not have an election yesterday and will remain under Democratic control with a majority of 21 seats of 40 seats.Republican Winsome Sears will be the next Lieutenant Governor with 50.82 percent of the vote with Democrat Hala Ayala at 49.08 percent. Sears is the first Black woman to be elected to statewide office in Virginia and she said her victory is the embodiment of the American dream.“When my father came to this country, August 11 of 1963, he came at the height of the civil rights movement from Jamaica,” Sears said “He came and I said to him, it was such a bad time for us. Why did you come? And he said because America was where the jobs and the opportunities were.” For Attorney General, Republican Jason Miyares has 50.49 percent of the vote to incumbent Democrat Mark Herring at 49.43 percent. The Republican ticket carried most localities across rural Virginia. Youngkin carried Nelson County with 55.58 percent of the electorate with all but absentee ballots counted. The Governor-elect also carried Fluvanna with 56.86 percent of the vote. Louisa County also went for Youngkin with 66.28 percent of the vote. The Republican’s margin in Greene County was even higher at 71.86 percent The story is different in Albemarle and Charlottesville. McAuliffe carried Albemarle with 61.86 percent of the vote and Charlottesville with 82.87 percent of the vote.Local racesNow let’s look at local races. In Nelson County, Central District incumbent Democrat Ernie Reed fended off a challenge from Republican Pamela Brice with 50.78 percent of the vote. North District Incumbent Tommy Harvey defeated Democratic challenger Mary Cunningham. Harvey was first elected in 1984. (Nelson results) In Louisa County, incumbent Robert Babyok Jr. appears to have been defeated by challenger Rachel Jones. Jones has 53.2 percent as of production time. (Louisa results)In Albemarle, all three Democrats on the ballot for Supervisor won because they had no opposition. Graham Paige retained his seat representing Samuel Miller on the Albemarle School Board with 73.84 percent over a write-in candidate. (Albemarle results)In the Charlottesville City Council race, Democrat Juandiego Wade got the most votes with 11,582 before the absentee ballots are counted. Democrat Brian Pinkston got 10,041 votes. Independent Yas Washington secured 3,407 votes and withdrawn incumbent Nikuyah Walker got 1,916.  (Charlottesville results)In the School Board race, four-term incumbent Leah Puryear came in fourth, meaning she will not serve a fifth. Incumbent Lisa Larson-Torres got the most votes with 7,329, followed by newcomer Emily Dooley with 6,633, and newcomer Dom Morse with 6,500. Christa Bennett placed fifth with 4,488 votes. In Greene County, Abbey E. Heflin has a close lead over Tina A. Deane in the Stanardsville District race at 960 to 917 votes. Bill Martin opted not to run for re-election. (Greene results)There were no contested races for Supervisor in Fluvanna County. (Fluvanna results)Preparing for the Youngkin administration Back to the Governor-elect. Between now and January 15, Youngkin will appoint candidates to the Secretariats ranging alphabetically from Agriculture and Forestry to Transportation. A new governor will shape the entire tone of state and local government. Youngkin’s victory speech called for new spending.“We will invest the largest education budget in the history of the Commonwealth,” Youngkin said. “We’re going to invest in teachers, new facilities, special education. We’re going to introduce choice within our public school system.” For Youngkin, that means more charter schools and giving parents more control over what is taught in public schools. But the call for spending also came with a call to reduce revenue that comes into the state. “Friends, we will reduce our cost of living on day one,” Youngkin said. “On day one, we will declare the largest tax refund in the history of Virginia.” Among taxes Youngkin wants to reduce is an increase in the Virginia gas tax that passed the General Assembly in 2020, as well as increasing deductions. He also called for more spending on salaries for law enforcement. “We’re going to comprehensively fund law enforcement because they stand up for us and we’re going to stand up for them,” Youngkin said. Younkin also said he would replace all members of the Virginia Parole Board. The governor-elect also promised investments in economic development. This past July, CNBC named Virginia as the number one state in the nation to do business. “We’re going to get this economy moving again, growing 400,000 new jobs, fostering 10,000 start-up,” Youngkin said. “Friends, Virginia will be open for business.”Here’s a quick look at the legislative races that touch Albemarle County: Republican incumbent Chris Runion defeated Democratic challenger Jennifer Kitchen in the 25th District with 62.36 percent to 37.51 percent. Democratic incumbent Sally Hudson fended off Republican challenger Philip Hamilton in the 57th District with 78.37 percent to 21.41 percent.Republican incumbent Rob Bell defeated Democrat Sara Ratcliffe in the 58th District with 63.4 percent of the vote.Republican incumbent Matt Farris won against Democratic Ben Moses with 64.64 percent of the vote. Moses raised over $600,000 in the campaign. Pre-filing for the 2022 General Assembly begins on November 15. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 2, 2021: Council indicates support for Food Equity Initiative but funding decisions to come later; Office vacancy rate at 4.9 percent in Charlottesville

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 18:29


Let’s begin today with two Patreon-fueled shout-outs. One person wants you to know "We keep each other safe. Get vaccinated, wear a mask, wash your hands, and keep your distance."And in another one, one Patreon supporter 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!On today’s show:COVID update from Dr. Denise Bonds of the Blue Ridge Health District Charlottesville Council indicates support for Charlottesville Food Equity Initiative, but funding decisions will come in the months to come A quick look at commercial office space in the Charlottesville areaCharlottesville’s public housing agency is owed $52,000 in unpaid rent Two million for affordable housing projectsThe Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission is seeking applications from private, public, and nonprofit developers for projects to increase affordable housing stock throughout the region. The TJPDC received $2 million from the entity formerly known as the Virginia Housing Development Authority for the purpose of building actual units. The first step is for applicants to submit a proof of concept. “This proof of concept will be issued to collect key details about the proposed project, including number of proposed units to be constructed, partner development experience, and location of development,” reads the release. “The requested proof of concept will serve as a precursor to a more detailed formal project application.”The funding is part of a $40 million statewide initiative. Proposals are due on November 29 at 5 p.m. Visit the TJPDC’s website to learn more about the application.Sixth Street site planTomorrow, the city of Charlottesville will hold a site plan conference for the next public housing project to be redeveloped by the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Plans for 39-units at Sixth Street will be reviewed. The CRHA Board of Commissioners’ got an update on this topic at their meeting on October 25. Brandon Collins is now the redevelopment coordinator for CRHA. (read his report )“Resident-led planning continues and to update you all in case you don’t know, the plan is in the space along Monticello Avenue where the garden currently is we’re going to knock down six apartments on the end of the garden to get a little extra room and build an apartment building,” Collins said.Collins' redevelopment report for October states that a three-story building had been originally, but architects suggested a fourth story would make the project more competitive for Low Income Housing Tax Credits.“Residents seem to be generally in favor of that,” Collins said. “There’s a lot of process questions that we’re all going to work through to get a decision on that.”The site plan conference begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday. (meeting info)Former Planning Commissioner Lisa Green resigned from the CRHA Board of Commissioners on October 5. No reason was given but Green had been on the Redevelopment Committee. Council is seeking applications to fill the vacancy as well as other open positions on boards and commissions. Take a look at the list on the Charlottesville City Hall website. At the CRHA meeting, Executive Director John Sales reported that some tenants owe tens of thousands in back rent. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development currently considers CRHA a “troubled” agency which requires additional scrutiny from the federal agency including increase inspections. “A big item that we should always discuss is the delinquency account for tenants,” Sales said. “We’re currently at $52,000. That is probably our biggest concern in terms of exiting out of troubled status. The $52,000 represents about a hundred tenants.”Sales said that represents about a third of public housing residents. He said there is a CRHA staff member working on rental assistance to help cover the back log and to find out what barriers are in place to paying the rent. Office space check-inThe Charlottesville office market had a vacancy rate of 4.9 percent in the second quarter of this year according to an analysis from Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer. That’s less than the same period in 2020, but below the forecasted amount. The report states that office space remains high in demand. “Absorbency in the market was down for the quarter but that is more a reflection of large new deliveries than lack of demand and remains net positive for the past 12 months,” reads the report. “In fact, 87 percent of the nearly 380,000 square feet of office space under construction is already pre-leased and since Q1 2020 there has been more space delivered than in prior decades.” The report states that rents continue to rise. The current average is $27.52 per square foot, a 55 percent increase over the 2015 average. Pinkston’s bountyElection results will come tomorrow. One final piece of information before the votes are tallied. Brian Pinkston’s campaign for one of two seats on City Council received a last-minute contribution of $3,000 on Monday from the Democratic Party of Charlottesville.COVID updateThe number of new COVID cases reported each day continues to decline. “If you look at the trend over the past couple of weeks here, a month or so, it’s really been on a downward trajectory indicating that we may be past the worst with regards to the Delta virus,” Bonds said.Today the Virginia Department of Health reports another 1,245 new cases today, and the Blue Ridge Health District reports 41 new cases. There have been 12 deaths reported in the district since October 25. Since Dr. Bonds last addressed Council, booster shots are now available for all of the three major vaccines. The Moderna booster is available for those over the age of 65 or those with some underlying condition or situation. “If you got [Johnson and Johnson] as your first one, it’s a little different,” Bonds said. “Anyone who got J&J as their first vaccine for COVID is eligible as long as you’re over the age of 18.”Bonds said anyone who got the J&J vaccine can also opt to switch to the Moderna or Pfizer as a booster. “Really the best person to talk to about this would be your physician,” Bonds said. “There are some reasons to think that mixing and matching may be beneficial. You get higher antibody levels with the rMNA boosters but there’s some evidence that if you get J&J it activates more of a different part of your system called T-cells.”Vaccines are available at the Community Vaccination Center at the former Big Lots in Seminole Square Shopping Center. Visit the Blue Ridge Health District website to learn more. Dr. Bonds said the district will have a limited quantity of Pfizer doses for children between 5 and 11 when they are available next week.“It’s going to one third of the amount that anyone 12 and over gets,” Dr. Bond said. Because there is a limited amount, the District is prioritizing shots for the most vulnerable children, working with school districts and pediatricians to identify those people and schedule shots. “There will be a small amount of vaccine that is available at our Community Vaccination Center,” Dr. Bonds said. “It is by appointment only and those vaccines.gov should be out and available by Friday of this week we believe.” In all, the District will get an initial distribution of 6,300 doses. You’re reading Charlottesville Community Engagement. In today’s second Patreon-fueled shout-out, Code for Charlottesville is seeking volunteers with tech, data, design, and research skills to work on community service projects. Founded in September 2019, Code for Charlottesville has worked on projects with the Legal Aid Justice Center, the Charlottesville Fire Department, and the Charlottesville Office of Human Rights. Visit codeforcville.org to learn about those projects. Dr. Denise Bonds spoke at the City Council meeting last night. The meeting was overseen by the two deputy city managers in the wake of the resignation of former City Manager Chip Boyles on October 12. That meant it was up to Sam Sanders to provide responses from previous comments for the public. Who maintains the mall side streets?“The first item was in regards to side street maintenance near the Downtown Mall and I did check in with staff in regards to who is responsible for maintaining those side streets and that is a function of Parks and Recreation,” Sanders said. “They have been short-staffed and struggling to keep up with everything that needs to be done is what I am hearing at this moment.”The second item dealt with a request to install a four-way stop on Rose Hill Drive at Burley Middle School, which is owned and operated by Albemarle County Public Schools.“There is a speed study underway and its in relation to the configuration that’s being proposed for Walker Upper Elementary, “ Sanders said. “Even though it is not the same impact area, they will be able to take a look at what is happening on Rose Hill Drive.”Sanders said the last study of the area around Burley dates back to 2004 and some traffic calming efforts were installed in the second half of the decade. He referred people interested in the topic to the city’s Traffic Calming Handbook as well as the petition to begin the process. Food Equity discussionThe main item last night was a report on Charlottesville’s Food Equity Initiative. The nonprofit group Cultivate Charlottesville has been the recipient of city funding for the past three years and seek additional money for years to come. They also want two percent of the meals tax to go a new Food Equity Fund.“We believe that food is a human right and we operate from that perspective that everyone, all Charlottesville residents, deserve access to fresh produce and high quality food,” said co-executive director Richard Morris.Morris said food equity is an outcome where all residents have access to food that meets nutritional and cultural needs. Earlier this year, Council was presented with a Food Equity Initiative Policy Platform which seeks to serve as a strategic plan to fund a variety of initiatives, and they’ve sought support for funding through an online petition. Much of this work is also finding its way into the draft Comprehensive Plan which Council will consider on November 15. One challenge is that the Urban Agricultural Collective has lost or soon will lose control of land it has used for community gardens. Land at the public housing site at Sixth Street SW is slated to be used for redevelopment. “The overall budget for the Food Justice Network has been about $400,000, $155,000 of what was the Food Equity Initiative contributed,” said co-director Jeanette Abi-Nader. “And you’ll note that the majority of the budget goes toward staffing.” The group is seeking a multiple year commitment, despite the fact that elected bodies in Virginia cannot appropriate money beyond the next fiscal year. The request comes outside of the budget cycle, as well as the Vibrant Communities process through which nonprofits apply for funding. That process used to be conducted jointly with Albemarle County. Mayor Nikuyah Walker praised the report submitted with the funding request, but had concerns. “If we are adding this as a three-year item, that the way other nonprofits have to compete for funding, I have some reservations there,” Walker said. Abi-Nader said Cultivate Charlottesville did not apply for Vibrant Community funds in the past two years because they had been funded by Council outside of that process. She explained how she thinks the current request is different. “We see the Vibrant Communities funds as really about programs that impact the community, like direct support programs and engagement, and this program is seen as a support for a function of city government,” Abi-Nader said. Walker noticed there have been several groups funded outside of the budget cycle and the Vibrant Community fund, such as the B.U.C.K. Squad and Peace and Streets.“I think our whole process needs to be reviewed and if there is a list of community partnerships that are doing the work the city thinks is essential that can’t be done without that partnership, then that needs to be a separate list from the Vibrant Communities but the way things are set up now, I don’t think it’s a fair process,” Walker said. Councilor Lloyd Snook appeared to agree that the resolution as presented was not appropriate. “Franky it appears to me to be an attempt to circumvent the budget process,” Snook said. Misty Graves, the interim director of the city’s Human Services Department, said the resolution came up because the initiative was a creature of City Council. “So I think that’s why it’s coming to back to City Council for whether or not it is a renewed commitment and if this is still a priority of City Council,” Graves said. Next year will be the fourth year of the initiative. The $155,000 will be built into the general fund budget that will be introduced by whoever will be City Manager early next March. The vote was 3 to 2 with Walker and Snook voting against and the resolution does not guarantee funding for FY23. The other request was for two percent of the meals tax proceeds to go to a Food Equity Fund. In Fiscal Year 2020, the city collected $12.6 million from the meals tax, which would have generated just over $250,000 for this purpose. (Charlottesville’s 2020 annual report) Abi-Nader said this fund would cover infrastructure to support food equity goals.“And by infrastructure, I mean that informally, not like literally always physical things, but infrastructure support for our city to move from a foodie city to a food equity city as an overall goal,” Abi-Nader said. “There are things that go beyond what an individual nonprofit can do.” One idea is a cooperative grocery store to be located near subsidized housing. Another is to build a new community garden in a section of Washington Park.“There’s space there to sight a quarter-acre park,” Morris said. “We’re talking about 10,000 square feet which from a growing perspective that’s a space that can grow a lot of food.”Councilors did not commit to the idea at this point in the budget cycle, but there was general support for the initiative. “For the record, I really support this group,” said Vice Mayor Sena Magill. “What they are doing is amazing work and it’s greatly needed work. I know I’ve been learning from them for the last three years now.” Another issue worth continuing to track into the future. Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. So, your $5 a month subscription yields $5 for TCP. Your $50 a year subscription yields $50 for TCP? The same goes for a $200 a year subscription! All goes to cover the costs of getting this newsletter out as often as possible. Learn more here! This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

ECDataWorks
Role of Research to Practice Partnerships in Using Early Childhood Data

ECDataWorks

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 2, 2021 23:31


This session presents the benefits and strategies for engaging with university partners to support the use of early childhood data. Anita McGinty (Director of Early Childhood with the Virginia Department of Education) and Erin Carroll (Research Associate Professor with the School of Education in Human Development at the University of Virginia) share their strategies for strong research to practice partnership in Virginia's early childhood data effort.

Charlottesville Community Engagement
November 1, 2021: CAAR reports lower home sales in third quarter; Early voting statistics from across the region

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 15:04


Time for the first of two Patreon-fueled shout-outs: Do you suffer from Classical Music Insecurity Complex? That is, you like classical music you hear, but you feel intimidated by all the stuffy etiquette and specialized knowledge? Suffer no more!WTJU is hosting Classical Listening Parties, a series of four free, casual events on Tuesdays in November. These four events are led by Chelsea Holt, pianist, teacher, and one of WTJU’s newest and youngest classical announcers. She’ll guide you through all the eras of classical music beginning Tuesday, Nov 9th, 7 p.m.: Early & Baroque. For a list of the others, visit wtju.net to learn more and sign up! On today’s program:Development updates from Albemarle’s Pantops Community Advisory Committee including an update on transit expansion Home sales were down slightly in the third quarter of 2021 according to the Charlottesville Area Association of RealtorsStatistics on early voting in the Charlottesville areaThe Charlottesville Fire Department will deploy dronesAnd the 5th and Avon CAC gets an update on Albemarle’s future Biscuit Run ParkEarly voting resultsElection Day is tomorrow, and the time for early voting is over. While the result aren’t in, there are some significant numbers to review. In Charlottesville, 6,241 ballots were recorded in early voting. That’s according to data made available by the Virginia Public Access Project. There are 33,549 registered voters. And the rest of the area: Albemarle has 18,545 early votes recorded. There are 81,738 registered voters. Louisa has 5,170 early votes recorded. There are 28,177 registered voters. Fluvanna has 5,790 early votes recorded. There are 20,282 registered voters. Greene County has 3,442 early votes recorded. There are 14,394 registered voters. Check out the Virginia Public Access Project for a comparison of how that compares with early voting in 2017. Resources: Department of Elections page with registration statisticsVPAP Early Voting pageCAAR reportHome sales were down slightly in the region in the third quarter of 2021, but sales prices continued to increase with a median increase of 12 percent. That’s according to a report out this morning from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors, which covers Albemarle, Charlottesville as well as Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, and Nelson counties. There were 1,393 homes sold between July 1 and September 30, a four percent decrease from the same period in 2020. The median sales price was $365,000, $38,000 more than in 2020. The report notes inventory is limited. “There were 643 active listings across the CAAR footprint at the end of the third quarter, 30 percent fewer listings than this time last year,” reads the report. When looked at by jurisdiction, transactions in Charlottesville were up 28 percent with 187 residential transactions. Albemarle saw 598 sales, or a three percent increase. Sales in Louisa were down 18 percent and sales in Nelson were down 28 percent. I’ll have an anecdotal summary of Charlottesville’s transactions coming up in a future edition for paid subscribers to this newsletter. Check out September’s here. More municipal dronesThe Charlottesville Fire Department will begin to use drone aircraft in their responses to public safety calls. In a release today, the department announced that several of its employees have completed a three-day drone pilot certificate at the Piedmont Virginia Community College. “As a 21st-century all-hazards department, CFD is now prepared to implement [Unmanned Aerial Vehicles] to support building inspections, firefighting operations, swift-water rescue, response to trails, and other emergencies,” reads the announcement. The next step will be to update procedures to incorporate the drones into operational policies. The department will be using DJI Mavic 2 drones which including thermal imaging cameras.You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement. Time for a second Patreon-supporter shout-out. In today’s subscriber-supported Public Service Announcement, the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards continues to offer classes and events this fall and winter to increase your awareness of our wooden neighbors and to prepare for the future. This week there is a three part class on Winter Invasive Plant Identification and Treatment. The first begins tomorrow virtually with identification. A field session will be held at Azalea Park this Saturday. Learn more at charlottesvilleareatreestewards.org. (register for Tuesday’s session) For the rest of today’s newsletter, development updates from Albemarle County. We start first with the October 25 meeting of the Pantops Community Advisory Committee. Supervisor Bea LaPisto Kirtley had the task of providing the new information, such as the next tenant for the former Malloy Ford building on the north side of U.S. 250. (Watch the CAC meeting)“The old Malloy Ford site, that is being renovated and there are permits for signs for Flow Automotive, Flow Volkswagen,” LaPisto Kirtley said. Plans for a new hotel to be built in the parking lot of the Rivanna Ridge Shopping Center have been through two sets of review.“There is an associated special use permit to remove a previous condition for a landscaped buffer where the hotel is planned for,”  LaPisto Kirley said. An additional community meeting will be held on the Overlook Hotel project in the future. Albemarle transit expansion Discover Transit Month may be over, but the input period for Albemarle County’s Transit Expansion Study is still underway. Boris Palchik is with Foursquare ITP, one of the companies hired to conduct the work.“The expansion study is meant to identify short-range opportunities to expand transit service in key population employments in the county,” Palchik said. These are the U.S. 29 north corridor, Pantops, and Monticello.  The study comes at a time when Charlottesville Area Transit is also reviewing its opportunities in the U.S. 29 north area. “While there are a lot of different ways to provide transit service and to improve transit service, each of those ways that we are considering has its own ideal operating environment and when we look at fixed-route transit service which is what CAT operates today, fixed route transit service is really dependent on density,” Palchik said.Another key factor is a functional sidewalk system that allows people to get to and from stops. Palchik said initial work in the study has reviewed existing land use patterns. Fixed-route service is recommended when there is a density of five people or five jobs per acre. Currently the north side of U.S. 250 on Pantops falls short of that threshold, but that could change in the future. The preliminary study recommends an additional fixed-route service in this area. “This additional route, additional fixed-route would serve the growing residential population up there as well as some of the key destinations like the Social Security office,” Palchik said Charlottesville Area Transit has prepared route changes which would eliminate Route 10 service on Stony Point Road. However, there is no date set for when those changes would be made. The preliminary study does not indicate who would run that service but it would require at least one additional vehicle. Another recommendation is study a demand-response service. “Demand-response-service is buses that can come to a passenger wherever they are, sort of a a point to point service that can take them to their home,” Palchik said. This can also be provided by the private sector but micro transit technology is seeking to extend that convenience with public transportation.“The main difference between Uber and Lyft and what we call micro transit in the transit industry is that micro transit has a dedicated fleet of vehicles so you have purpose-built vehicles that are designed for transit service, designed for share rides,” Palchik said. Fares on micro transit would be regulated and more predictable than the cost of private sector rides. The study recommends two vehicles to be operating at any one time. A survey to get additional input is open through November 18. There’s an English and a Spanish version. (take the survey)Biscuit Run ParkLet’s go back in time for a bit further back to the October 21, 2021 meeting of the 5th and Avon Community Advisory Committee. They got an update on planning for the county’s Biscuit Run Park from the Albemarle planners. The county has a long-term ground lease with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation to operate and build what had been expected to be a state park. Tim Padalino is the county’s parks planner. (download his presentation)“In 2018, the final park master plan was reviewed by the Board of Supervisors at a public hearing and adopted with DCR’s endorsement and blessing,” Padalino said. Currently, the park is not open to the general public. Padalino said that’s because the county does not have the staff to do the necessary maintenance.“And in terms of public safety, there’s no signage and there are no maps for a large, relatively wild and undeveloped landscape, and there’s incomplete cell phone coverage,” Padalino said. The land is mostly undeveloped, which means its serving as a piece of green infrastructure almost entirely covered by forest. “And that’s effectively a carbon sink that’s purifying the air and sequestering carbon dioxide in a way that is supporting the climate action plan,” Padalino said.Work to open the first phase is underway. That includes an entrance into a parking area off of Route 20 about 500 feet south of the southern end of Avon Street Extended. There will be a parking area and bathrooms. “It is one of the county’s top strategic plan goals as identified by the Board of Supervisors, and that’s apparent in that this is a fully-funded project through the county’s Capital Improvement Program,” Padalino said. “The budget is about $2.1 million.” Padalino said if all approvals are granted, construction of this could be completed by the end of next summer. Planning for trails is also underway. There are about nine to ten miles of existing trails. Tucker Rollins is the county’s trail maintenance supervisor. “What we’re hoping to create is a trail system that will make lots of different users happy,” Rollins said. “We’re expecting lots of hikers, trail-runners, mountain-bikers, bird-watchers, lot of native plant folks. So we’re trying to create something that will allow all of these different types of people to get in there and spread out and be happy.”Rollins said the park’s size can accommodate about 35 miles of trails while leaving lots of space to be left untouched. Parks staff has been working with the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club on a multi-use loop that would be open around the same time the parking lot opens. Planning is also under way for dedicated mountain bike trails, one of which will be funded by CAMBC.  Watch the whole 5th and Avon CAC meeting to review the whole presentation. (watch)Special announcement of a continuing promo with Ting! Are you interested in fast internet? Visit this site and enter your address to see if you can get service through Ting. If you decide to proceed to make the switch, you’ll get:Free installationSecond month of Ting service for freeA $75 gift card to the Downtown MallAdditionally, Ting will match your Substack subscription to support Town Crier Productions, the company that produces this newsletter and other community offerings. This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Academical
Commissioner Chris Piper, Virginia Department of Elections

Academical

Play Episode Listen Later Nov 1, 2021 19:20


Hosts Connor Eads and Gary Christensen interview Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Elections Chris Piper to discuss election security, ballot access, and the upcoming Gubernatorial election. To check your registration status and find your polling place, go to: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation/

Charlottesville Community Engagement
October 30, 2021: DRPT report states Bedford train stop won’t delay freight; a briefing on the hotel industry in Albemarle/Charlottesville  

Charlottesville Community Engagement

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 30, 2021 14:38


Let’s begin today with a Patreon-fueled shout-out! Charlottesville 350 is the local chapter of a national organization that seeks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. Charlottesville 350 uses online campaigns, grassroots organizing, and mass public actions to oppose new coal, oil and gas projects, and build 100% clean energy solutions that work for all. To learn more about their most active campaigns, including a petition drive to the Richmond Federal Reserve Bank, visit their Facebook page at facebook.com/cville350Should Amtraks’s Northeast Regional train make a stop in Bedford? The Charlottesville-Albemarle tourism bureau gets an update on hotel happeningsResidents of the Barracks / Rugby neighborhood will go without water on MondayMonday begins a nearly two-week total shut down of Emmet Street at Ivy Road Vaccinations are coming for children between 5 and 11 If you live in the Barracks / Rugby neighborhood in Charlottesville, be ready for a planned water outage on Monday. A contractor will be working on water infrastructure between Barracks Road and Preston Avenue. City crews will place door hangers on properties that will be affected. The shutdown will be between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.  (learn more)Monday also marks the beginning of a two-week shut down of Emmet Street at Ivy Road for the installation of a massive piece of stormwater infrastructure. Sunday is the second Halloween of the pandemic, but local health officials aren’t concerned that a return to trick-or-treating will see return of another surge.“It’s really important to recognize and understand that the outdoors in always safer than indoors and so those outdoor activities are really fantastic,” said Dr. Costi Sifri, the director of hospital epidemiology at the University of Virginia Health System. Dr. Sifri said people probably don’t have to disinfect any received treats, but recommended frequent hand washing. He also recommended having children avoid large indoor gatherings and wear masks indoors. Yesterday the Food and Drug Administration Approval approved the Pfizer vaccines for people between 5 and 11. More details on that roll-out will be rolled out next week. “Logistics are being worked out but there’s going to be emphasis of trying to make sure the vaccines that are offered are going to be in places that are child-friendly,” Dr. Sifri said. On Friday, the Virginia Department of Health reported a seven-day average of 1,431 new cases a day and a seven-day percent positivity rate of 5.8 percent. On October 1, that last figure was 8.8 percent. Virginia has also recorded 1,101 COVID deaths in October today. The next new metrics won’t be available until Monday morning. Tourism is one of the region’s largest industries, and the pandemic has shown just how important the sector is to the municipal bottom line. Russ Cronberg has been general manager of the Boar’s Head Resort for the past five years.  He gave a presentation on October 25 to the Board of Directors of the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau. The CACVB markets the region as a tourism destination and is funded by a portion of the transient lodging tax. “We have 3,891 hotel rooms roughly give or take a room or two in our market currently,” Cronberg said. “Our annual occupancy is around 65 percent.”Cronberg said most hotels need between 50 percent and 60 percent occupancy in order to break even, so an average of 65 percent is a sign of health.  He said in a given year, over 1.8 million people stay in hotel rooms in the area.“That is not timeshares, that’s not bed and breakfasts, it’s not our AirBnB’s,” Cronberg said. “That’s strictly just our hotel community.” In the year before the pandemic, Cronberg said hotels brought in nearly $14 million in revenue for Albemarle and around $9 million in Charlottesville. The sector is still slowly rebounding after a time when most travel stopped for a while, and the hotel industry lost millions. “Thankfully for many of the grant programs and other government funding that has helped, city funding, we’ve only lost two hotels to permanent closure but actually we have a couple more than are going to reopen,” Cronberg said. The labor shortage is affecting all sectors, including hospitality. Cronberg said the Boar’s Head over 90 job openings in September, forcing the resort to limit the number of guests. He acknowledged that low wages are part of the problem.“One thing that I’m proud of that has come out of this is that it really has opened the eyes of ownership and maybe operators to really speed up the increases in our industry,” Cronberg said. “And I think it’s a really good thing to get back to more equitable wages.”Cronberg said when he began at Boar’s Head in 2016, housekeepers were getting $8.50 an hour. That’s now been increased to $17 an hour. But to keep that going, the economy still has to make it through the pandemic.“The current COVID environment has continued to provide [difficulties] to navigate, but we in the hotel industry have continued to remain flexible with the priority of security and safety of our team as well as our guests,” Cronberg said.Cronberg said the Charlottesville will have to compete with other destinations around Virginia. “In order to do that, I really think and speaking with operators and other GMs and other hotel owners, we really have to look at the CACVB funding model. It’s not just giving the funding and saying thank you, here you go, but measuring those successes and making sure the thing we are doing are driving occupancy to our area, are driving tourism dollars into the arts and into the historical communities.” Later in the meeting, the CACVB discussed the possibility of changing the representation on the Board of Directors to include more representatives from the industry. Such a move would have to be approved by Charlottesville City Council and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors. Read more about that story in Allison Wrabel’s October 25, 2021 article in the Daily Progress. You’re listening to Charlottesville Community Engagement and time for a second Patreon-fueled shout-out! The Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Campaign, an initiative that wants you to grow native plants in yards, farms, public spaces and gardens in the northern Piedmont. The leaves have started to fall as autumn set in, and as they do, this is a good time to begin planning for the spring. Native plants provide habitat, food sources for wildlife, ecosystem resiliency in the face of climate change, and clean water.  Start at the Plant Northern Piedmont Natives Facebook page and tell them Lonnie Murray sent you!(Want a shout-out? Check out Patreon to learn more!)*At the same time the CACVB seeks to compete with other areas within driving distance, another community along the Amtrak line between Roanoke and Washington wants in on the action as well. A group in Bedford has been lobbying for a stop on the service. This past week, officials with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation reviewed a study on whether that’s feasible and what it would cost. Emily Stock is the manager of rail planning at DRPT. “Our focus is the movement of people and goods throughout the Commonwealth and our primary areas of activity are rail, public transportation, and commuter services,” Stock said.The DRPT began funding regional service in Virginia in the late 2000’s, and the Northeast Regional Service between Lynchburg and Washington’s Union Station began in the fall of 2009. In 2014, DRPT reached agreement with Norfolk Southern to extend passenger service to Roanoke. At that time, the Bedford / Franklin Regional Rail Initiative launched. The Town of Bedford hired a consultant to produce a report in 2016, and the DRPT studied whether there would be enough ridership to support a stop. On October 25, Stock presented the latest report. (watch)“Fast forward to now and we’ve had a few years now under our belt of Roanoke service which has been very helpful to us in projecting potential ridership for Bedford also,” Stock said. But before ridership is considered, the station has to be located on a section of a track within certain parameters. “Norfolk Southern, the host freight railroad, does not allow adjacent high level platforms to their main line tracks,” Stock said. A stop in Bedford would likely be a “caretaker” station and located downtown. Two sites have seen the most study, including the site of a former train depot near the Courthouse. Stock said what would be needed. “A platform with a canopy,” Stock said. “A station building. We’d need enough room for that. Also room for parking, for rental cars, for auto and taxi pick-up drop off.” The courthouse site was dropped from consideration because an at-grade vehicular crossing would have to have been closed to address safety concerns. The alternative is located about a mile west outside of downtown Bedford. “Our cost to construct here would be almost $11 million in 2025 construction dollars and that includes a 40 percent contingency which is standard for this level of design,” Stock said. One consideration while looking at potential ridership is how close Roanoke and Lynchburg are to Bedford. One forecast has found the stop would have 25,400 ons and offs per years, but some of that would take away from nearby stations. The net new riders to the system would be 10,500 per year generated by the Bedford station. The good news for proponents of a Bedford station is that the freight hauler that owns the lines do not have technical objectives. “What we found Norfolk Southern was that they did not see any new material delay for Norfolk Southern operations as a result of a stop in Bedford which is very good news,” Stock said. The report is due to the General Assembly by November 15. Next steps will include federal review under the National Environmental Policy Act and working with the Virginia Passenger Rail Authority on a grant application for the federal funding. “Other good news is that we do expect to start an Amtrak Thruwaybus as a first step,” Stock said. “You may recall that for Roanoke there was a Thruway bus that was operating before any rail service went to Roanoke.”That Thruway service is expected to begin next spring, though a location for the stop has not yet been determined. This service will eventually be extended to Christiansburg, where work is underway to design a passenger rail station to serve the New River Valley. Thanks again for reading!Now, what about supporting the program? Town Crier Productions is open seven days a week to keep up to date with all manner of items. This is the 269th installment of this program, not counting the Week Ahead newsletters. Research is underway to bring even more information to you and the rest of the community.To cover the cost, I need funding. Subscribing through Substack is one way to support this newsletter. Another is to donate through Patreon. There are nearly 100 people who contribute through Patreon each month, making up a good portion of the revenue that supports my ability focus solely on this work. Please visit the site to learn more, and please ask me questions. This is a public episode. Get access to private episodes at communityengagement.substack.com/subscribe

Virginia Water Radio
Episode 601 (10-31-21): Halloween, Water, and the Human Body

Virginia Water Radio

Play Episode Listen Later Oct 29, 2021


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:53).Sections below are the following: Transcript of Audio Audio Notes and Acknowledgments Image Sources Related Water Radio Episodes For Virginia Teachers (Relevant SOLs, etc.). Unless otherwise noted, all Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 10-29-21. TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for Halloween 2021.  Besides focusing on autumn's festival of fun and fright, this episode is part of a series this fall about water connections to the human body and human biology. SOUND – ~9 sec That eerie sound of a tree creaking in October wind sets a seasonal stage for a Halloween challenge: exploring how Halloween, water, and human biology all connect.  Sound like quite a trick?  Well, have a listen to some Halloween music for about 50 seconds, and then we'll treat you to some examples. MUSIC - ~50 sec – instrumental You've been listening to “A Little Fright Music,” by Torrin Hallett, a graduate student at the Yale School of Music.  And here are six matches of Halloween creatures or images with water in the human body. 1.  Skeleton images rattle around everywhere for Halloween, and in living skeletons water is a significant component of bones and cartilage.  2.  Pretend blood covers many-a Halloween costume, and over half of the volume of blood is plasma, which in turn is over 90 percent water, and water is also a major component of blood cells. 3.  A muscular costume is part of pretending to be a super-strong character like Wonder Woman or Superman; and water plays a significant role in muscle structure and function; in turn, muscle is an important water-storage area for the body. 4.  The monster in movie versions of “Frankenstein” was brought to life by electricity, and the cells of our nervous system transmit messages though electrochemical impulses, using sodium and potassium ions in a water-based solution. 5.  If fiery or icy creatures need some temperature regulation, water's the body fluid that does it. And 6.  Flashing and watching from many creatures on Halloween night are eyes, either scary, suspenseful, or super-powered; and eyes have chambers containing aqueous humor and vitreous humour, two fluids that consist mostly of water and that maintain the shape of the eyes. This Halloween, imagine being a creature that's about 60 percent composed of an amazing substance with unique powers to dissolve other substances, absorb and release heat, and withstand being compressed.  What would you be?  Why, the water-based human being that you are! Thanks to Torrin Hallett for composing this week's music for Virginia Water Radio, and we close with another listen to the last few seconds of “A Little Fright Music.” MUSIC - ~13 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 Ben Cosgrove for his version of “Shenandoah” to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I'm Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water. AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS The wind and creaking tree sounds were recorded by Virginia Water Radio in Blacksburg, Va., on October 5, 2014.  “A Little Fright Music” 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 previously used in Episode 548, 10-26-20. Following are other music pieces composed by Torrin Hallett for Virginia Water Radio, with episodes featuring the music. “Beetle Ballet” – used in Episode 525, 5-18-20, on aquatic beetles.“Chesapeake Bay Ballad” – used in Episode 537, 8-10-20, on conditions in the Chesapeake Bay.“Corona Cue” – used in Episode 517, 3-23-20, on the coronavirus pandemic.“Flow Stopper – used in Episode 599, 10-28-21, on the “Imagine a Day Without Water” campaign.“Geese Piece” – used most recently in Episode 440, 10-1-18, on E-bird. “Ice Dance” – used in Episode 556, 12-21-20, on how organisms survive freezing temperatures.“Lizard Lied” – used in Episode 514, 3-2-20, on lizards.“New Year's Water” – used in Episode 349, 1-2-17, on the New Year. “Rain Refrain” – used most recently Episode 559, 1-11-21, on record rainfall in 2020.“Runoff” – in Episode 585, 7-12-21 – on middle-school students 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.  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. IMAGE Water uses in the human body.  Illustration from the U.S. Geological Survey, “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body,”  https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects. SOURCES Used for Audio Peter Abrahams, ed., How the Body Works: A Comprehensive, Illustrated Encyclopedia of Anatomy, Metro Books, New York, 2007. American Red Cross, “Blood Components,” online at https://www.redcrossblood.org/donate-blood/how-to-donate/types-of-blood-donations/blood-components.html. Erin Blakemore, “How Twitching Frog Legs Helped Inspire ‘Frankenstein,'” Smithsonian Magazine, December 4, 2015, online at https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/how-twitching-frog-legs-helped-inspire-frankenstein-180957457/. Fandom, “Monster Wiki/Frankenstein's Monster,” online at https://monster.fandom.com/wiki/Frankenstein%27s_Monster. Mayo Clinic Health System, “Water: Essential to your body,” online at https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/water-essential-to-your-body. Science Direct:“Aqueous Humor,” online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/medicine-and-dentistry/aqueous-humor;“Vitreous Humour,” online at https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/veterinary-science-and-veterinary-medicine/vitreous-humour. University of Michigan Health, “Eye Anatomy and Function,” as of August 31, 2020, online at https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/hw121946. U.S. Geological Survey, “The Water in You: Water and the Human Body,” https://www.usgs.gov/special-topic/water-science-school/science/water-you-water-and-human-body?qt-science_center_objects=0#qt-science_center_objects.