Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Misc. Thoughts

First, Hurricane John is a Cat. 4 hurricane, um does anyone care? The news is all about Ernesto and that is now a tropical depression and folks in central VA are stocking up on supplies for when that strong rain storm hits. Incongruent. BTW- what is the difference between a typhoon and a hurricane?

Next, I really appreciate the musical interludes on Charlottesville...Right Now - but none can possibly compete with the theme from Dora the Explorer (after Coy's daughter says "youre listening to my dad on Charlottesville...Right Now" or something like that. Anyway, the kids LOVE it! I always smile, even when the kids arent in the car and it comes on. David says "Dora" real loud whenever it comes on.

Finally, a follow-up in WaPo re: dinner to go places. Marijean recently asked about such a place in the 'ville, alas the answer is no as far as I can tell. If anyone wants to open one, I know a family or two who may jump at the opportunity to patronize such a business. Please...I know it wont be in town though, I suppose I would drive to the North of town occassionally to have meals made for those nights it is too crazy to make meal.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Alleged bomb plotter 'not guilty'

The Hook has the news first, one of the 13 year old boys was found not guilty in the bombing plot. I am glad the parents of that child had the resources to move forward with this appeal.

From the VA Courts website on JDR: Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Courts differ from other courts in their duty to protect the confidentiality and privacy of juveniles coming before the court, and in their commitment to rehabilitate those who come before the court, in addition to protecting the public and holding juvenile offenders accountable for their actions. The welfare of the juvenile and the family, the saftey (sic) of the community, and the protection of the rights of victims are the highest concern in the court's proceedings. In other respects, juvenile courts generally have the same requirements and provide the same safeguards as other courts. This court does not, however, conduct jury trials. All cases are heard by a judge

As one can tell from this description, JDR is a different place. One may contend a criminal conviction in JDR may be more about securing a child services for possible rehabilitation than actual guilt beyond a reasonable doubt based on evidence. Further, JDR & other courts not of record (General District Court) are to limit the number of cases heading to the more expensive courts of record and provide access to pro se litigants to the justice system. It is a unique system where a litigant can have two bites of the apple, but thankfully this child had that protection.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

River Road Walk

Chris wants us to reduce the number of trips we make by car. I am onboard for the most part. So I decided the boys and I would walk to pick up the pictures I had gotten developed.

River Road has spotty sidewalks, meaning in the most dangerous sections there are no sidewalks. In addition, River Road is now (unofficially or officially) part of the Rivanna River Trail because of the lady who put up barb wire. River Rd. is really hard to walk and not just because of the hill, it is the industrial traffic and the speed of the cars. The alternatives are not that much better (think extremely narrow streets + speeding cars) at least River Rd. is somewhat wider than the other neighborhood thoroughfares.

A sidewalk on the whole of River Rd. is an ideal solution for neighbors and visitors to the trail. I know the City is loathe to consider a sidewalk in Locust Grove Neighborhood after the last fiasco, hopefully this goes smoother and it certainly benefits more than the neighborhood with all the users of the trail hiking up River making for a potentially dangerous scenario.

I would certainly feel a lot better about walking more places if there were more sidewalks. The photos turned out great (who knew 36 pictures of the Fair could be soo fun?).

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Night out

Delightful time had by all, even the kids as they were babysat by a family friend's daughter (who is off to college soon and welcomes the money).

First a matinee movie at Carmike(that place was gleaming when it was built but is now awful). We got to the theater at the start time of the movie so we did not spend much downtime at the theater. We saw Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This is a weird movie, lots of laughs are in it, some way too cheesy parts and a strange complexity to a comedy. I enjoyed it, especially for a matinee and since I never get to see movies anymore.

We went to dinner afterwards at Bonefish Grill. We received a free bang bang shrimp- which was delicious. We both had house salads; they have yummy 'tuscan' bread served with pesto and olive oil (I am sucker for kalmata olives and they were in the pesto). I had a special Salmon Bellair, while Chris has Trout with lime tomato sauce. There are four sauces to choose from and Chris said the sauce was sweeter than he thought it would be, but he ate it all up. I had the veggies for a side (there are many sides to choose from), Chris had potatoes au gratin. Because we were on a night out, we ordered dessert- we split the macademia nut brownie, which is served with raspberry puree, ice cream and whipped cream. I love macademia nuts, so this dessert was delicious. This is not an especially chocolatey dessert, but I am not particular. And I just had the rest of my entree for lunch today, it was still delicious.

The kids were asleep when we got home, a sign of an excellent babysitter! And the kids told me they really enjoyed Meghan's company, phew. It is good to get out occasionally and eat a meal slowly. I have not done that in a long time.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Blogging Kinship

Marijean and I met this afternoon for a delicious lunch on the downtown mall. She looked fabulous- dont believe her vacation weight story! We are organizing a cvilleblogs gathering the last Saturday in September (9/30 UVA is out of town that weekend, Foxfield is probably the Sunday prior, although the Vegetarian & Apple Festivals are that weekend- but we can take some time to meet).

We are accepting nominations for venues- bring us your best picks for a lovely fall Saturday in Charlottesville- think relaxing and conducive to discussion (preference may be given for a spot serving alcohol).

Us cville bloggers are a community, I appreciate the opportunity to spill my ideas onto the screen & the respect those ideas are usually received and debated. Moreover, I thank those who let me glimpse into their world and provide me an opportunity to contemplate on their thoughts.

I am feeling effusively grateful this evening. First, lunch with Marijean this afternoon, then I was inducted this evening into the Charlottesville Rotary Club. I am honored to be involved in such a civic minded organization. The speaker tonight was the Treasurer of Art in Place. Art in Place's website has a message board for comments. The speaker was really engaging and funny. I am a big fan (especially of the cyclist on McIntire) and after hearing him speak, a much bigger fan. Check out their website.

Virgil has lost his way

I dont believe Virgil Goode should be our next congressman because he has lost his way.

When Virgil first came on the scene, he had a lot of credibility to me, I appreciate an independent Democrat. I moved away, he switched parties, and then appeared to devolve into a patsy for Republican party. Virgil Goode has a lot of power from the pulpit of the Appropriations Committee. He receives some ridiculous amount of money from employees of MZM during his campaign, MZM's management is seeking a DOD contract to put a facility in Martinsville. DOD, MZM and Virgil know this is a redundant contract, but everybody wins in the scenario MZM dreams up. MZM gets the contract, Wade is indicted for bribery, so is the other guy present with Virgil at the opening of the facility in Martinsville and Virgil states (clearly not an exact quote)"I didnt know the employees of MZM were funnelling money to my campaign illegally". I wanted to believe, dont we all?

I have volunteered on Al's campaign, I know how hard the Director of Finance works to make sure all donations are on the up and up. The federal requirements for these donations are strict with little room for error. Sure campaigns make errors, small errors, miss a deadline by one or two days for example. Virgil's staff made a significant error in judgment if in fact they had no knowledge of the illegality of these donations.

What do we ask of people who make errors in judgment? Take responsibility, reform, admit wrongdoing and make it right.

What do we ask of people who commit crimes? Take responsibility, accept the punishment of the criminal justice system.

What does Virgil want us to do? Vote for him, um...NO! I dont want a congressman who makes such horrible errors in judgment or has staff around him who fail to question this sort of activity. Should I give him the benefit of the doubt? I understand some may, but since he has became a patsy of his party in Washington, he stopped being that independent thinker I found valuable. He is less credible because he has been in Washington so long surrounded by a culture that supports dishonesty at one end of the spectrum, and downright corrupt behavior at the other end.

Al Weed provides an honest, responsible alternative.

Meeting Overload

The City Council agenda looked ambitious, lots of reports including school board election committee, parks feasibility report, one transit thing and transportation was near the last item, but included about four different items, never mind the public comment period. I arrived home around 11:40 last night from that meeting.

I am glad I went though. Ostensibly as a member of the CDBG Task Force, I always like to attend meetings where the Task Force (TF) is on the agenda. The TF had met to discuss priorities for its upcoming RFP cycle since it was time for Council to establish those priorities again. But I also went knowing the Parks department was presenting its report on the facilities feasibility study. Finally, I wanted to thank the Parks & Rec department for keeping the pools open later last week during the sweltering heat.

I really have four or five blog entries possible as a result of my attendance at this meeting. We shall see whether the posts actually get written. Thankfully, the next meeting isnt until September 5th, so I could report on all the goings on in the next month. Happily, I am honored to report, I was appointed to the Parks and Rec Advisory Board. A whole other blog entry will be on how great it is to serve on committees/boards/commissions.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

County Fair

The Fair with kids is really fun! I have been to the fair numerous times, starting when I was 13. The fair ultimately stays the same, but when seeing the fair through the eyes of your children, it is so much more fun.
Before the price of admission was worth it for the funnel cake. But this time, we spent oodles of time at the fair and didnt go into a lot of exhibits. Of course we saw the animals and tractors, spoke to the Farm Bureau rep and ate hot dogs. BUT with minimal tickets the kids went on all the rides they wanted and were sleeping when we got home. A good time was had by all. I imagine the next ten years of fair going experience and the changes those years will involve and I am grateful.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

pools/fair & radio

As I hope everyone knows by now, the pools will be open late through Thursday evening. The Albemarle County Fair also starts today (runs through the 6th). Great options abound this week for families.

Washington and Meade park pools will be opened until 8:00 PM; with City residents swimming FREE from 6-8. I think the free swim is a great Charlottesville tradition. I advise taking advantage, I know we will! Hope to see you at the Park!

I will be on WINA 1070AM "Charlottesville...Right Now" today in the 5:00-5:30 discussing my recent interview with the Director of Parks and Recreation. Let's hope things go smoothly...