Charlottesville Breaking News

Belmont Bridge a journey or a destination?

[Re: April 12 cover story: "Belmont vortex: Vision vs. reality in Belmont Bridge debate"], three big questions to mix it up at your next backyard BBQ:

1. The historical debate: "Is the Belmont Bridge replacement design a step forward or a step back?" Historians have articulated that the current bridge was, like the Vinegar Hill razing, a product of biased urban planning and Eisenhower-era highway hysteria. It cut off Downtown from the surrounding neighborhoods– geographically, socially, and economically. Do we want to repeat that mistake for simplicity's sake? Or do we care enough to rethink that critical junction from the ground up– and maybe even below. How would we do it now if we could do it over? (And, we can.)

2. The metaphysical riddle: "Are we designing for a journey or a destination?" True, we could spend $14.5 million on a utilitarian slab of road. Or, we could create an enduring piece of Charlottesville culture– an arts district, a central park, a permanent farmer's market (add your dream here). Infrastructure is about opportunity. The Rotunda is more than a classroom. The Downtown Mall is more than a mall. That's how we do it in Charlottesville, right? Rethinking the Belmont Vortex should take us somewhere far greater than the mere distance from Levy to Market Street.

3. The political hot potato: "Who is the p...

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FunStuff: Charlottesville events April 26 and beyond

Anthropologist extraordinaire
"She is impressive," says Charlottesville-based evolutionary psychiatrist Andy Thomson, speaking of Sarah Blaffer Hrdy, a University of California-Davis-based researcher who is one of the world’s foremost experts on mothering and the mother-child relationship. Her works includeMother Nature and Mothers and Others, the latter of which is gaining her a visit and an award at UVA on Thursday in McKim Hall, a building along Hospital Drive.
April 26th, Leonard Sandridge Auditorium, 4pm, free




Art and theater
Downtowners know all about First Fridays, but what about Final Fridays, the collection of arts events UVA organizes in the area now fondly called the John & Betsy Casteen Arts Grounds, which serves as the site of the academic year's fi...

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Have you ever been attacked by a wild animal?

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Big windowless: Stonefield's Regal makes its mark

The new Regal Entertainment 14-screen theater rises on Hydraulic Road, a powerful symbol of cinematic enthusiasm in a town that hasn't seen a new movie place since the 1996 opening of the downtown Regal six-screener. These pictures were taken April 13, shortly before the structure at the upcoming Stonefield shopping center was wrapped with green plastic sheeting. The new facility, which will obviate a nearby Regal four-plex standing in the way of the planned Hillsdale Drive Connector, will offer digital projection and rocking stadium seating in every cinema.

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Big winners: Top Emily Couric scholarshipper gets $30K

Every year the nonprofit Emily Couric Leadership Forum picks an academic superstar demonstrating extraordinary leadership from among the seniors at each local high school– and a real-life leader. This year the life leader is award-winning investigative journalist Maureen Orth, and the top student is Charlottesville High's Jessie Press-Williams, who gets a $30,000 scholarship.

The student, one of ten seniors honored (the others get $4,000 scholarships), debates nationally, studies French and Arabic, edits the school newspaper, served on the team that won NASA's "Balloons at High Altitude Flight Competition," and presides over the CHS science club, BACON, or Best All-Round Club of Nerds. She's weighing whether to go to M.I.T. or Yale.

Vanity Fair's Orth was the speaker at this year's April 24 luncheon at the Omni hotel and recipient of the Emily Couric Women's Leadership Award.

Orth, who has covered many heads of state, said, "I often cover low people in high places." As a young woman, she joined the Peace Corps and helped build a school in Medellin, Columbia, that is named for her and is still supported by the Marina Orth Foundation.

"Keep yourself open to adventure," she urged the young women, while cautioning, "Don't mistake competition for creativity."

This was the 12th year of scholarships in honor of State Senator Emily Couric, who died in 2001. And in the small world of connections, it was Orth's late husband, Tim Russ...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse