Tuesday, August 29, 2006

South African Wine Exchange Program

Piedmont Virginia Community College is partnering with the South African Wine Industry Trust and the US/South Africa Wine Foundation in the first US - South Africa Wine Exchange Program. Ten young winemakers from the Stellenbosch region of South Africa are beginning an eight-week program in the US, in which they will combine classroom experience at PVCC with internships with wineries in central Virginia or California. Local vineyards include Barboursville, DelFosse, Kluge and Jefferson. A reception last week at the First Colony Winery welcomed the interns - I was joined there by City Manager Gary O'Connell, Chamber President Tim Hulbert and Congressman Virgil Goode and many others who are involved in the program. Neil Williamson of The Trellis Group had a lot to do with making this program and event happen.

The South African Wine Trust not only has a mission to promote the wine industry in South Africa, but to support the wine industry in disadvantaged communities, with an emphasis on Black South African economic development. A very positive program, and a very promising partnership.

And particularly interesting to me, since my brother Keith spent 6 months in the Stellenbosch region a couple of years ago, and was enamored of the region, and its wines. And suggested Stellenbosch as a potential sister city for Charlottesville.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Zona Latina

Premiering September 16 a bilingual TV show, Zona Latina, is coming to Charlottesville. This magazine format show will be shown at 9 am on ABC-16, via Cable 3 and by satellite on Dish Network, and re-aired Sundays at 12:30 am. Among the features will be UVA professor Fernando Opere, and a segment on cooking (and since Rick Bayless' Mexican Everyday is my current favorite cookbook, I am looking forward to this!).

This show reflects what we see around us - a significantly increasing Hispanic population, in the city and county, and in fact, statewide.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Grace Tinsley

I was deeply saddened by the recent death of Grace Tinsley, a long-time community leader. A school nurse, Grace and her husband Robert were very involved in the local civil rights movement, and she was the first African-American on the school board. She also served on the PVCC board, and was the driving force in Charlottesville getting a public defender's office. Grace was tenacious - the legislation for a public defender's office was passed 4 years in a row by the general assembly, and each year vetoed by George Allen, before finally passed and signed. She was smart - very smart - with a sharp sense of humor and an infectious laugh. A mentor and advisor to many recent city officials. Fairminded and tough, and a good friend, and someone Jean and I will really miss.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Best of C-Ville

I always enjoy the annual Best of C-Ville (maybe getting best chiropractor previously has something to do with it...) and seeing how my choices fare. My family doc (Greg Gelburd) and dentist (David Dalley, above me in the Wellness Center) are on the list, as is my Pilates class, TruPilates. Blue Wheel Bikes made the list - I've been buying bikes there since 1975, congrats on their new location in the Ix Building. I'd hate to have to narrow my favorite restaurants to one or two, but I can't argue with C&O or Zocalo - both are in my top five. Mudhouse, 91.9, Bodos, Albemarle Baking - a lot of good choices. And the pool that we have belonged to for 20 years, Fry's Spring Beach Club, got runnerup; what a great place, with all the shade trees, an enormous pool and the funky clubhouse.

But Meadowbrook Hardware remains my favorite hardware store, no matter what the voters think.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Vertical Sprawl

A lot of controversy in Charlottesville revolves around development - infill development, increased density, tall buildings. Partly this arises from people wanting to live here, and the market responding to demand; part is due to rising prices making it feasible to build on difficult parcels (many times, in my opinion, parcels that never should have been zoned for development in the first place), and finally because of the zoning ordinance passed 3 years ago (before I joined council), allowing more density. In any event, density that may, as former Mayor Maurice Cox argues, allow for much better transit and walkability - but that certainly generates concerns about traffic, noise, parking, etc.

Yesterday the Times had an article titled Cities Grow Up, and Some See Sprawl on these controversies around the country - in places like Austin, Denver, DC, Palo Alto and Seattle. Another example of how the problems we face here are generally being faced by cities around the country.

Friday, August 04, 2006

An Inconvenient Truth

Have you seen An Inconvenient Truth? I think it is a movie that everyone should see - a forceful statement about global warming, and a fascinating campaign piece about Al Gore. It also effectively compares the scientific "controversy" about global warming with that of tobacco in the 60's, which is particularly powerful because of his families' history of tobacco farming and his sister's death from lung cancer.

It has a couple of memorable quotes:

Mark Twain: "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

Upton Sinclair: "You can't make somebody understand something if their salary depends upon them not understanding it."

At Vinegar Hill.