Scottsville, take back the night

The sky over downtown Scottsville is studded with stars? [Cover story, "Flooded with money, Scottsville surfaces" January 9, 2003](

Wowie zowie, Scottsvillians, did you know that only one-third of Americans live in a place where they can see the Milky Way on a cloudless night? (, March 29, 2002: "Dark skies are an endangered species.")

When you revamp the downtown area, I hope you'll use shielded lights– fixtures that direct the light downward. For more information on intelligent lighting, go to, and

And, while I've got your attention, if anyone reading this has one of those porch lights that is more likely to blind people with their brilliance than illuminate anything on the ground, I hope you'll consider replacing it with more sensible fixtures that cast the light downward, where it's needed.

If you have floodlights on your house, for God's sake turn them off.

Charlottesville could reclaim its view of the Milky Way if the street lights were retrofitted with shields, and if homeowners would install shielded exterior lights and use only floodlights that are activated by motion sensors.

Even though maintaining (or reclaiming) our night skies would help out the astronomers, making it happen isn't rocket science: Use shielded fixtures for necessary lights, and turn the other ones off. Then, voila: instant Milky Way.

Janis Jaquith
Free Union