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April 21, 2012

Meet Your Government: Pamela Murray

Meet Your Government: Pamela Murray
Engineering Draftsman, Neighborhood Development Services,
City of Charlottesville Pam_Murray

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Philadelphia, and when it was time for school my parents moved to the suburb of Gladwyne. I have an older brother and 2 younger sisters. 

What is your alma mater and when did you graduate?

I attended Harcum College in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania. At that time it was a junior college – I studied liberal arts. If I had graduated, it would have been in 1969. I stayed in the area and worked in retail stores and a few restaurants, did some traveling and then decided to move to Columbia, South Carolina in 1974. 

When and why did you move to the Charlottesville/Albemarle area?

I stayed in South Carolina for 5 years and learned how to “draft” shop drawings for a subcontracting firm doing roof decks and acoustical ceilings. While in Columbia, I met some folks that lived in Charlottesville and I would come up here for various weekend parties. Virginia was much closer to my family in Pennsylvania, South Carolina was a little too hot, so, I decided to move here in 1979. 

What neighborhood do you live in now? Any family?

My husband (who I met at one of those various weekend parties!) and I got married in 1983, lived in a house on Belmont Avenue, then moved to Oxford Road. When our children were old enough for school, we moved to Earlysville.  My husband, Drew, was a contractor for a number of years. After he left that business he joined his brother in the compost/mulch business. Our son, Derek, lives in Nashville and teaches special education in an elementary school, and our daughter, Hilary, lives in Northern Virginia and works as an event planner for a business consulting firm. 

Continue reading "Meet Your Government: Pamela Murray" »

Soundboard 4-20-2012 - Charlottesville's news straight from the source

Soundboard

Soundboard: Charlottesville's news straight from the source

A collaborative local news radio program by WTJU 91.1 FM, Charlottesville Tomorrow, and C-Ville Weekly.

Each Friday from 4-5 PM, tune in to hear area journalists and guests discuss local news, culture, and community issues in the Charlottesville area. Whether we're talking about city politics, scientific innovations, or the local music scene, you'll get to hear in-depth discussion about stories that matter.

Soundboard is co-hosted by WTJU's Lewis Reining and Charlottesville Tomorrow's Jennifer Marley.

Podcasts may be downloaded from this website, via RSS, and via Charlottesville Tomorrow on iTunes.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120420-Soundboard

The April 20 show features contributors Graelyn Brashear & Laura Ingles (from C-Ville Weekly) and Brian Wheeler, Sean Tubbs & Courtney Beale (Charlottesville Tomorrow) discussing: 

  • a new hotel on West Main
  • an update on the city and county comprehensive plans
  • guest Todd Warner on the treatment of minorities in the juvenile justice system
  • an update on the re-development of the Martha Jefferson Hospital site in Charlottesville
  • the new lawsuit regarding the water plan
  • guest Andrew Ferguson a science fiction-loving UVA grad student working to find and preserve writings of an obscure science fiction writer, R.A. Lafferty

Soundboard is produced by Susan Gravatt and Nathan Moore. We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to your feedback!

 
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Chemical engineer briefs ACSA on chloramines

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Saturday, April 21, 2012

A chemical engineer with the firm Hazen and Sawyer briefed the Albemarle County Service Authority Thursday on the forthcoming use of chloramines to disinfect treated drinking water. 
 
“Chloramines have been in use since 1917 and we have a very long history of using [them],” said Ben Stanford, director of applied research at Hazen and Sawyer. 
 
The Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority uses free chlorine to remove bacteria and viruses from raw water as its primary disinfectant. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requires water treatment plants to use a secondary disinfectant to ensure no bacteria or viruses re-enter the treated water as it passes through the distribution network. 
 

 

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120418-ACSA-Chloramines

Currently the RWSA also uses free chlorine as its secondary disinfectant, but that chemical will not allow the agency to meet higher standards that will be in effect in October 2014. 

“More utilities across the country have said [they] can no longer do free chlorine as a secondary disinfectant because of the need to meet these increasingly stringent regulations,” said Thomas L. Frederick, Jr., the RWSA’s executive director. 
 

Continue reading "Chemical engineer briefs ACSA on chloramines " »

April 20, 2012

UVA holds fourth Venture Summit to capitalize on innovation

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, April 20, 2012

The University of Virginia launched its fourth Venture Summit on Thursday inside Old Cabell Hall on Central Grounds in an effort to connect faculty and students with venture capitalists and investment managers from around the country.

“The goal of the summit is to bring together national leaders in politics, policy, venture capital, corporate leadership and academics,” said Tom Skalak, UVa’s vice president for research. “We want to imagine possible futures and imagine steps we could take action on to benefit society.”

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Tom Skalak, UVa’s vice president for research

UVa’s director of innovation, Mark Crowell, said the two-day event would discuss “innovation in thinking, innovation in research and innovation in deals.”

“One of the things we hope to accomplish is to tee up more UVa deals that would become recipients of investment capital from people that either heard about the deal here or created relationships here,” Crowell said.

The Venture Summit program includes a variety of panels and briefings and culminates in actual pitches being made by alumni and faculty startup companies hoping to raise capital.

“Everything we do is about getting UVa innovation technology out into use,” Crowell said. “And because we are focusing wherever possible on doing that through startups, it will result in creating a more robust ecosystem here of new companies and new jobs and new investment.”

Skalak and Crowell both saw connections between the work of the summit and the broader Charlottesville community.

“A lot of people from Charlottesville are here, both from the investment community and the academic world of Charlottesville,” Skalak said. “This is a way to get them to mix and build new relationships so that as ideas emerge, either from UVa laboratories or thinkers, or from community members, they will have the relationships nationally to push them forward commercially.”

Continue reading "UVA holds fourth Venture Summit to capitalize on innovation" »

Albemarle plans for water, sewer rate increases

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, April 20, 2012

The Albemarle County Service Authority’s board of directors had its first look Thursday at a proposed $28.2 million budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
 
“We’re seeing increases of less than 4 percent to our water and sewer rates, and that’s after two years of no increases,” said Lisa Breeden, the ACSA’s director of finance.
 
Breeden said the average single-family home’s bill will increase by 3.33 percent.
 
The biggest reason for the increase is an increase in wholesale rates charged by the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority, which sells treated water and sewer service to the ACSA and the city of Charlottesville.
 
In the current year, the RWSA charges the ACSA a wholesale rate of $3.39 per 1,000 gallons. That will increase to $3.46 per 1,000 gallons in fiscal year 2013.
 
For sewer, the RWSA charges the ACSA $3.35 per 1,000 gallons, an amount that will increase to $3.73 per 1,000 gallons.
 
ACSA staff decided to spend some of its reserves to lower the rate increase for its customers.
 
“[The RWSA’s] capital improvement budget is huge and we’ve had to try to level out that increase to our customers,” Breeden said.

Continue reading "Albemarle plans for water, sewer rate increases" »

April 19, 2012

Court defers decision on water plan lawsuit to May

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, April 19, 2012

A retired immigration attorney from Madison who opposes the community water supply plan made his first appearance in Albemarle County Circuit Court on Thursday.

Stanton Braverman, who owns property in the city of Charlottesville, is challenging the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority’s plans to implement the water plan approved in January. He told the court he is acting on his own and not taking any compensation.

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Albemarle County Courthouse (file photo)

After hearing from Braverman, lawyers representing the RWSA, and testimony by RWSA Executive Director Thomas L. Frederick Jr., Judge Cheryl V. Higgins deferred a decision and consolidated two separate cases before the courts.

The next hearing has been scheduled for May 18.

“I am way out of my league,” said Braverman in an interview before entering the court. “But I have learned so much in the last four weeks. People are coming to me from all over saying, ‘Hey, Stan, have you thought about suing this, have you thought about suing that.’”

Braverman, 70, joked that he took on the case because he “got tired of mowing the lawn.”

“When I walk in that door, and meet that judge, to me it’s a learning experience,” Braverman explained. “But really, I just got pissed. And anybody who knows me knows that when Stan Braverman gets pissed, he starts swinging.”

Continue reading "Court defers decision on water plan lawsuit to May" »

Council chooses Habitat/Southern to site near Oakwood Cemetery

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Charlottesville City Council is poised to select Habitat for Humanity and Southern Development to develop 3.5 acres near the city’s Oakwood Cemetery.
 
“If this is done right, we can send a message about the development principles we want,” Councilor Kathy Galvin said.
 
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A conceptual drawing of the Habitat/Southern plan. Elliot Avenue is on the right hand side of the image (Source: City of Charlottesville)
The land is undeveloped because the city has used the site as a landfill.
 
“It has been used as a site to receive construction debris for a number of years,” said Jim Tolbert, the city’s director of neighborhood development services. “We’ve had soil borings done and there is at least 20 feet of [debris].”
 
The city held a design charette in early 2011 to solicit ideas on how to develop the property, which is a 10-minute walk from downtown.
 
“The consensus of that discussion was that the future development should be of a scale that related to existing development, should respect the cemetery, but should be at a density appropriate for a prime downtown walkable location,” Tolbert said.

Continue reading "Council chooses Habitat/Southern to site near Oakwood Cemetery" »

Social entrepreneurs share their innovative community building projects

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Tom Tom Founders Festival launched a series of weekly innovation talks Wednesday with a panel discussion examining “social entrepreneurs,” local people starting projects focused on social change.

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The first innovation panel at the Tom Tom Founders Festival.  (L to R) Oliver Platts-Mills, Dave Norris, Kim Suyes, Toan Nguyen, Wendy Brown, and Paul Beyer

“The underlying idea [of the festival] is that Charlottesville is a creative hub among many different disciplines,” said Tom Tom co-founder Paul Beyer, making introductions to a gathering of almost 30 people.

“Specifically with this series, we want to highlight innovation,” added co-founder Oliver Platts-Mills. “Place-based innovation is highly influenced by the place itself, Charlottesville.”



Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20120418-TTFF-IS

Belmont resident Michelle Oliva is a consultant supporting social enterprises. After moving here in 2010, Oliva said she is seeing a critical mass of people getting interested in this issue.

“Social entrepreneurship should be built into the DNA of a company,” said Oliva. “It should be something that is sustainable and that generates benefit to society.”

Continue reading "Social entrepreneurs share their innovative community building projects" »

City and county planning commissioners discuss affordable housing

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission continued its $1 million livability project Tuesday with a joint meeting of the Albemarle and Charlottesville Planning Commissions. 
 
“This project is based on the recognition that this is one community,” said Stephen Williams, the executive director of the TJPDC
 
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The project is funded through a grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. One of its goals is to coordinate updates of the Charlottesville Comprehensive Plan, the Albemarle County Comprehensive Plan and the federally mandated Long Range Transportation Plan.
 
Over the past year, several workshops have been held to provide opportunities for the public to interact with staff and elected and appointed officials on topics ranging from transportation, land use policy and affordable housing
 
Over 300 people participated in the workshops and more than 700 comments have been received online. 
 
“A lot of the comments focused on affordable housing and the need to increase affordable housing in the community, both in the city and the county,” said Mandy Burbage, a planner with the TJPDC. “There was interest in ordinances supportive of affordable housing and a review process that made it easier for developers to create it.”

Continue reading "City and county planning commissioners discuss affordable housing" »

April 18, 2012

Marriot Residence Inn site plan now under review

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The city of Charlottesville is now reviewing the preliminary site plan for the construction of a new Marriott Residence Inn proposed for the corner of Ridge McIntire and West Main Street.

20120418-WestMainSitePlan2The public voiced few worries about the building’s design during a meeting on Wednesday.

“There have been some concerns regarding the height,” said Willy Thompson, a city neighborhood planner, in an interview.

Thompson stated that the architects have proposed that the building be 70 feet tall, which is the city’s exact limit allowed by-right for the building’s height. 

“If they want to go higher than 70 feet, they would need a special use permit,” Thompson said.

Yet when the plans for the eight-story hotel were first made public, several citizens expressed concerns. The Marriot Residence Inn will be built on a site that is currently home to CityClay, Random Row Books, Cat Thrasher Photography, SweetHaus Cupcakes and other local businesses. 

Continue reading "Marriot Residence Inn site plan now under review" »