Balls of crystal: Hook makes bold 2004 predictions

 We hereby present our three predictions for the coming year:

 - With the glut of apartments and office space in the Charlottesville market, The Hook predicts lower rents for 2004.

- Charlottesville, home of the gourmet gas station, has two models that will go national: Patricia's Kluge's Fuel Co. and Tiger Fuel's Markets.

- Albemarle's appreciation of the pedestrian friendly neighborhood model and Charlottesville's new zoning ordinance embrace the high-density of new urbanism.

We predict that we'll be doing more walking after we park our cars at the new Target.


While gazing into the future, newsroom prognosticators saw other events swirl into view from the foggy mists:

- Meredith Richards will abandon a run for a third term on City Council and– although she won't again challenge him for Congress– she will ride away on a Vespa with her cross-the-aisle future sweetie, Virgil Goode.

- UVA will go six weeks without a racial incident. Nah. Make that, UVA will go six minutes without a racial incident.

- City Councilor Rob Schilling will be made over on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

- The NRA will bankrupt Albemarle schools as assistant county attorney Mark Trank doggedly appeals a court ruling permitting Jouett student Alan Newsome to wear his weapon-emblazoned NRA t-shirt.

- As City Council considers yet another "sister" city for Charlottesville, this one in Bulgaria, citizens join hands to demand a "brother."

- Continuing a trend of extreme weather, the area will experience a tsunami of sorts– as a vat of chicken parts explodes over a highway. Oh, wait, that's already happened.

- Outraged at being shut out from UVA football games, the Pep Band will storm the field at the Tech game, say something about dirt roads, and present a scramble band show the likes of which have never been seen before.

- Dave Matthews will throw a benefit concert at Scott Stadium to benefit beleaguered goat cheese producers.

- Patricia Kluge will lobby to join the Albemarle planning commission to push for approval of innovative subdivisions.

- Citing the desire for more sailing and less fund-raising, UVA president John Casteen will accept a job as president of Tidewater Community College.

- After years of bitter fighting, developers Colin Rolph and Lee Danielson kiss and make up in April. By August, they've joined forces to compete against their old ice park by buying the old IGA and opening the Charlottesville Roller Rink.

- Taking her upscale gas station to the next level, Patricia Kluge adds a three-room "country carriage-house style" inn to the back of Fuel. "Here," Kluge will say, "guests can recover from the vexing rigors of automotive traffic."

- The beleaguered Charlottesville Downtown Foundation seeks ways to keep Fridays After Five alive. In January, CDF makes a few "minor" changes. Admission climbs to $10, and to lower costs, they nix live music and purchase a neoprene-coated iPod, which faithfully takes the stage, rain or shine, every week in the summer.

- The city will hold a candlelight memorial service for the last yellow bike, whose utter disappearance will finally be acknowledged in March.

- Heavy rains continue, and in an effort to keep the Downtown Mall bustling, a massive awning is erected from end to end to extend the patio dining season.