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March 27, 2012

Soundboard 3-23-2012 - 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 20120323-Soundboard

The March 23 show features contributors Giles Morris, Graelyn Brashear & Laura Ingles (all from C-Ville Weekly) and Sean Tubbs (Charlottesville Tomorrow) discussing: 

  • the resignation of Charlottesville’s communications director
  • recent developments in the George Huguely trial
  • the Ragged Mountain Dam project 
  • UVA’s OpenGrounds project
  • guests Sarad Davenport and Quinton Harrell from the “City of Promise” Neighborhood action team
  • guest Kevin McFadden with the Virginia Festival of the Book

We hope you enjoy it, and we look forward to your feedback!

 
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February 12, 2012

UVa teams unveil Belmont Bridge concepts

DailyProgressBy Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, February 12, 2012 

More than 300 people packed into Charlottesville’s Music Resource Center on Saturday to review the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture’s conceptual plans for redeveloping the city’s Belmont Bridge.

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Photo: Daily Progress

“The ideas are many and varied and the level of practicality varies from project to project, but I think that in almost every single one of them there is a nugget to pull out that can give us a principle of how to proceed,” said City Councilor Kathy Galvin.

Twenty-nine teams consisting of both students and faculty have been working since the beginning of the month to redesign the bridge as part of a contest meant to reopen discussion of the bridge’s replacement.

“We have here [nearly] 30 ideas for the city to put in the back of their mind and let it roll around and say, ‘what are the next 100 years going to be?’” said Brian Wimer, a Belmont filmmaker who launched the contest.

More than 75 members of the public voted to choose a favorite, and the prize was awarded to an entry titled “Belmont Unabridged” that removed the bridge altogether.

“Our main issue with the current bridge is that, although you would believe it to be a connector between Belmont and the Downtown Mall, it really is a separation,” said Nell Connors, a member of the design team.

Continue reading "UVa teams unveil Belmont Bridge concepts" »

February 11, 2012

UVa teams finalizing designs for new Belmont Bridge

DailyProgressBy Courtney Beale & Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Saturday, February 11, 2012

The architecture studios in Campbell Hall at the University of Virginia are filled with new ideas for Charlottesville’s Belmont Bridge. Students and faculty are shaping cardboard, metal and plastic to create designs that look beyond mere replacement of the deteriorating structure.

“We can turn a neglected part of Charlottesville into a really vital part of the city,” said graduate student Sarah Cancienne.

20120208Project

This team stretched rubber bands across a wooden mock-up of Charlottesville to depict travelways

Twenty-nine teams from UVa are participating in Project Gait-Way, a grassroots design competition launched by Belmont filmmaker Brian Wimer out of dissatisfaction with plans under review by the city of Charlottesville.

“It’s about having a dream about where the city is going to be, and that’s what UVa is providing now,” Wimer told the City Council at its meeting earlier this week.

However, Wimer said entries are coming in from places other than UVa as well.

“I’m getting designs from San Francisco, Brooklyn and Scotland,” Wimer said. “There is an entire school system in Rocky Mount [where the] eighth grade is dedicated to fixing our bridge issue.”

Continue reading "UVa teams finalizing designs for new Belmont Bridge" »

February 01, 2012

UVa architecture school to spend next 10 days imagining a new Belmont Bridge

DailyProgressBy Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, February 1, 2012

If you see teams of university students and faculty circling around downtown Charlottesville over the next 10 days, they’d like you to know that they are part of the “Belmont Vortex.”

This whirling academic energy is being directed by Iñaki Alday, the chair of the University of Virginia Department of Architecture. Alday convened the entire school at Culbreth Theater Wednesday and challenged them to find new solutions for the redesign of the city’s Belmont Bridge.

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Daniel Bluestone, Architectural Historian, University of Virginia
Photos by Sabrina Schaeffer, The Daily Progress. Used by permission.

The studio desks and class schedules at Campbell Hall have both been cleared for everyone to participate in a grassroots design contest that the faculty says is unprecedented.

“This is the first time ever that all the designers in the school have worked on one project,” said Elizabeth Meyer, an associate professor in the Department of Landscape Architecture. “This might be a model for how we can rethink how we teach.”

The “Belmont Vortex” design workshops will be led by a visiting professor from Spain, Eduardo Arroyo, described by Meyer as being both “relentlessly pragmatic and visionary.”

“A vortex is a place where many things happen at the same time,” Arroyo said. “I’m here with a mission to make you imagine the city, to use your imagination, your fantasy, and that’s a different field.”

Continue reading "UVa architecture school to spend next 10 days imagining a new Belmont Bridge" »

January 27, 2012

Community meets to engage leaders on economic development

 

On Wednesday night at Charlottesville Tomorrow's monthly News n' Brews, over 50 community members packed into Bashir’s on the Downtown Mall to talk about economic development.

Here's how we captured the conversation...

 

 

January 01, 2012

It’s electric: UVa students at transportation’s cutting edge

DailyProgressBy Kurt Walters
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, January 1, 2012

Walk into the decommissioned nuclear reactor room at the University of Virginia and you’ll see students pushing toward a new kind of energy future — one in which cars can be powered by electricity from any energy source, including wind, solar, nuclear, or fossil fuels.

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UVa Ride Forward students (L to R): Olivia Jeffers (third-year; McLean, VA), Kyle Smalkowski (third-year; Richmond, VA), Jason Rowe (fourth-year; Waynesboro, VA), and Brian Chaldares (fourth-year; Waynesboro, VA).  The 2004 Subaru Legacy is being converted for David Slutzky.

Since its founding in 2008, the RideForward program has given UVa students the opportunity to convert conventional gasoline-powered cars into vehicles that run on electricity alone.

Professor Jim Durand, the program’s founder and faculty adviser, said his inspiration for the group came from the recent recession, which saw record-setting gas prices on top of the severe financial crisis.

“We were shipping nearly $350 billion abroad each year for our fuel and it just seemed like there had to be something we could do [at UVa],” Durand said.

After three years, RideForward now boasts 55 student members and three advising professors. In addition to three current electric vehicle (EV) conversion projects, RideForward has groups focusing on solar race car development, business and policy, and creating an infrastructure of EV charging stations.

“RideForward has really been shaping up over the last couple of years,” said RideForward president Olivia Jeffers, a third-year civil engineering student.

Continue reading "It’s electric: UVa students at transportation’s cutting edge" »

November 20, 2011

Advocates: Coal an unhealthy choice for UVa

DailyProgressBy Kurt Walters
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Sunday, November 20, 2011

Clean energy advocates have tried to make a case for shutting down the University of Virginia’s coal-fired heating plant by emphasizing coal’s public health risks.

20080308-UVAHowever, university officials say that the $73 million renovation of the Main Heating Plant, which finished in 2008, included strong pollution controls that greatly reduce the emissions that environmentalists say are harmful.

“First of all [we] control our source of coal – we don’t do any mountaintop [removal] coal sourcing – and then we clean it up through our emission controls systems,” said Donald Sundgren, chief facilities officer at UVa. “We also work very hard at energy conservation to reduce the need for [coal].”

At a press event last week, however, students in the Sierra Student Coalition’s “Beyond Coal” campaign underscored the public health benefits and “healthier community” that they said could result from moving the heating plant off of coal.

“The energy produced by this coal goes directly into university buildings, but the [health] costs are felt by the whole community,” said Rebecca Dudley, a UVa second year student.

Continue reading "Advocates: Coal an unhealthy choice for UVa" »

November 18, 2011

University, city, county share plans for major construction projects

DailyProgressBy Kurt Walters
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Friday, November 18, 2011

Representatives from Charlottesville, Albemarle County and the University of Virginia presented updates on their planned and recently completed capital construction projects before a joint planning council on Thursday.

20111117-PACCNoticeable at the Planning and Coordination Council meeting was the contrast between the scale and ambition of a university angling to become “the premier undergraduate experience of the Americas” and those of the county government, which has had to cut back construction plans due to ongoing revenue shortfalls.

“We really have almost a maintenance-only budget right now going forward,” said Albemarle Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker.

Which is not to say that there are not projects being completed by each entity. The county highlighted it had just opened a newly improved Jarman’s Gap Road in Crozet. Meanwhile today UVa plans to hold a ribbon-cutting at its technology and engineering-focused Rice Hall today and the city will conduct a groundbreaking ceremony for the Fontaine Fire Station.

Listen using player above or download the podcast: Download 20111117-PACC

Continue reading "University, city, county share plans for major construction projects" »

November 01, 2011

Albemarle Supervisor candidates on city/county/UVa cooperation

image from cvilletomorrow.typepad.com
image from cvilletomorrow.typepad.com
In the run up to Election Day on November 8th, Charlottesville Tomorrow will once again mail out our in-depth nonpartisan voter guide, featuring exclusive one-on-one interviews with all the candidates for Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council.  In the weeks before the election, we will feature one to two questions a day so that citizens like you can compare candidates’ answers and make an informed choice November 8th.

Charlottesville Tomorrow’s 2011 Election Center website features links to the full written transcript and audio of candidate interviews, as well as links to videos of candidate forums, copies of our 2011 voter guide, information on where to vote, and more.  All the following passages are excerpts from our interviews.

COUNTY BOARD OF SUPERVISORS, THIRD IN A SERIES

image from cvilletomorrow.typepad.comHow should the city, county and the University of Virginia work together to enhance our community’s unique character and economic vitality?


 

Rivanna District

Ken Boyd (R) – Incumbent

The county, the city and the university have a long history of collaborative discussions and actions.  We have a very different scenario from many regional communities in the commonwealth where the cities and counties don’t even try to work together.  These efforts, in such a diverse community, will inevitably lead to differences of opinion, but we deserve kudos for continuing the discussion.

I represented the board for several years on the county, city and UVA joint [Planning and Coordination Council] (PACC) committee and I have participated in countless discussions with both the city and the university.  These efforts have led to many collaborative ventures, including [the Charlottesville Albemarle Technical Education Center] (CATEC), and the Ivy Creek School, courts and jail authority, mass transportation, water, sewer, and solid waste, recycling, and may other joint ventures.  I expect we will continue to move in the same direction.

 

Cynthia Neff (D) – Challenger

Again, this is like an absolute great question.  It’s one that really resonates me … I don’t need a passport to come into the city.  We’re one place.  You know, I don’t understand these artificial constructs we’ve put up between us because they are inhibiting our progress.  And the same thing with UVA. 

… UVA is often an afterthought.  … [There are] millions and millions of dollars of procurement that the University of Virginia does and of course they go out to low bidders, but you know there’s a great opportunity for us to all sit down together with them and say, “Well, you know, let’s see what we could provide locally.” … maybe the city and the county we could work together in true economic development form and try to figure out how to give these our companies a chance to have like a little tax break or something so that they can compete and start to grow that business … the county can’t do that alone.

Continue reading "Albemarle Supervisor candidates on city/county/UVa cooperation" »

City Council candidates on city/county/UVa cooperation

image from cvilletomorrow.typepad.com

image from cvilletomorrow.typepad.com

In the run up to Election Day on November 8th, Charlottesville Tomorrow will once again mail out our in-depth nonpartisan voter guide, featuring exclusive one-on-one interviews with all the candidates for Albemarle County Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council.  In the weeks before the election, we will feature one to two questions a day so that citizens like you can compare candidates’ answers and make an informed choice November 8th.

Charlottesville Tomorrow’s 2011 Election Center website features links to the full written transcript and audio of candidate interviews, as well as links to videos of candidate forums, copies of our 2011 voter guide, information on where to vote, and more.  All the following passages are excerpts from our interviews.

CITY COUNCIL, THIRD IN A SERIES

image from cvilletomorrow.typepad.comHow should the city, county and the University of Virginia work together to enhance our community’s unique character and economic vitality?


 

Scott Bandy (I) – Challenger

That’s been a bone of contention with some folks. County and city relations, I chalk that up to the fact that the city in a way conducts itself as if though were the county, and the county conducts itself as though it were the city. Look at the urban ring there. Commercial development. People moving out to the county. The city has lost a lot of residents, people that have moved from the city into the county. You go where the jobs are. The jobs happen to be mostly in the county. Not that we don’t have them in the city, certainly we do.

And of course, the University of Virginia. Let’s drag that into this. Certainly there is room for improvement. We could talk to each more. Not that we don’t already. But as Bob Fenwick said, as a city, we have a problem of talking things to death. The people want action. Whether that’s in the next few minutes or over a period of time. Certainly I am willing to extend the hand of cordialness and consideration to the university, to the county, to work on things together.

One of the things that is close to me that also involves the county is the Sunset-Fontaine Connector. The improvements are going to be in the county, but that improvement is going to dramatically affect the city. The residents along Old Lynchburg Road, that segment of Jefferson Park Avenue. They will be impacted when that  connector is ever completed and done. Perhaps once it is done, and certainly that’s one of the things I would be most interested in the county with, and of course, the university, because we have the Fontaine Avenue Research Park over there, of accomplishing. That impact would be that Jefferson Park Avenue, [Old] Lynchburg Road, could return to the status of a slower paced neighborhood street, not the cut-through as it is and has been currently used as. Let’s move on.

 

Brandon Collins (I) – Challenger

… I think everyone knows that things between the county and the city have not been great for quite some time.  I am looking forward to at some point getting beyond the [Meadow Creek] Parkway and the water supply plan, and in to really seeing what the county and the city have in common … We can cooperate a lot on a regional transit plan, or a regional transit authority, if there’s interest in the county for that.  I think in the long term we really need to make a list of priorities for the city when it comes to the county and determine which of those are really worth taking a stand for and what is somewhat negotiable …

Continue reading "City Council candidates on city/county/UVa cooperation" »