Charlottesville Breaking News

Egged on: Forest Lakes resident angered by addling

Two years ago, Forest Lakes North resident Carol Rasmussen was devastated when officials from the U.S. Department of Agriculture rounded up and slaughtered 90 Canada geese from the five lakes in her neighborhood, citing airline safety and the neighborhood's proximity to the Charlottesville Albemarle Regional Airport.


This year, Rasmussen says, her thrill at the arrival of a single pair of geese nesting in the lake behind her house turned to horror when she spotted a department agent patrolling the lake who told her he intended to "addle" the eggs, a process by which the shells are covered with oil, killing the developing embryos.


"One pair of geese with their eggs cannot cause a hazard," says Rasmussen, who had already named the adult geese "Gracie" and "George" in anticipation of the arrival of their goslings. She describes herself as "furious" at the egg addling, an annual effort by the Forest Lakes Neighborhood Association and something the board president insists is necessary, even when the goose population is low.

"It's one of our proactive efforts in an attempt to prolong th...

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Divine stage: Waters serves up idea-drenched Monticello feast

On a beautiful day last Friday, April 20, Monticello served as the "divine stage" for a feast of feasts, according to Alice Waters, owner and executive chef of the world-famous Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California. The renowned proponent of the local food movement assembled an all-star cast of nationally recognized chefs to prepare a meal for major donors and guests of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation.

"I'm here because our democracy is buried here," said Waters, during a chat on the West Lawn as her team prepared for the meal. "Jefferson was our first edible educator. He took perfect notes. And he was both a farmer and a gastronome. We just need to dig it all up and eat it."

As part of Historic Garden Week, Waters was on hand to showcase Jefferson's ideas about food production and sustainability, and a few of her own.

"I'm here because I'm trying to gather the forces of good in this country," she said, "and put the wind at the back of the President."

Fresh off a recent visit to the White House, where she was consulting on the President and First Lady's initiative to send AmeriCorps volunteers into public schools to teach gardening, Waters said that during Obama's term the interest in local food production has exploded. She credits the Obamas for putting in a White House garden and f...

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Pack 10: Hook wins journalism, advertising awards

The Hook took home 10 journalism awards and 13 for advertising, including a Best in Show, at the April 21 Virginia Press Association conference in Roanoke.

In the news side of the house, photographers Bill Emory and Tom Daly each won two awards. In the category for pictorial photo, Emory took second and third place with his black-and-white photos of a Rotunda magnolia and the Ragged Mountain Natural Area.

Online slideshows earned Daly a first place award for the closing of The Tavern, and third place for the ouster of Occupy Charlottesville from Lee Park.

In the general news writing category, Hook reporters took both first and second places, with Lisa Provence winning for "Reefer madness? Copter and SWAT team weeded out 2 plants.

"Storytelling at its best," wrote the judge. "This is one of those crazy, how-could-this-possibly-happen yarns that causes the reader to give thanks for quality, professional journalists who know how to poke, prod, and eventually get to the bottom of a complex situation...

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Non-Hollywooder: Spacek can eat lunch in this town again

Getting dressed for a party at the White House in the early 1980s, Sissy Spacek and husband Jack Fisk were donning their formal apparel at a posh Washington hotel when they suddenly realized they'd rather be back home in Albemarle in blue jeans. Furthermore, they needed to meet their daughter's kindergarten teacher in the morning.

“Do we really want to do this?” says one.

“No, do you?” answers the other, as they begin packing up to go home.

Such are the back-to-hearth struggles that constitute much of My Extraordinary Ordinary Life, Spacek's new memoir written with former Albemarle resident and bestselling author Maryanne Vollers and published by Hyperion.

"I really did this for my girls, Schuyler and Madison," says the actress and mom, explaining why she spent a year making roadtrips and visiting "old haunts" before time dims her memory.

At 62, she's reached the age at which her mother died– an event, along with a brother's premature death to leukemia, that stands as rare setbacks in a life charmed by loving family, a wholesome hometown in the pine woods of Texas, and a long, happy marriage. As for the daughters, they're both following their parents into artistic careers, and now have the benefit of a written ro...

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Atlantic: Quite the convertible name

One of Charlottesville's best-known brands is no more. But the shop launched 30 years ago as Atlantic Futon lives on, morphed by its founder into something suited to a changing marketplace.

The rebranding into Atlantic Organic, a "natural sleep shop," began last fall, says company owner Andrew Levine, who recalls that futons were barely known in Charlottesville (and even Virginia) when he launched the company inside the old Hardware Store building in 1982.

Before long, Levine moved the business (and its distinctive blue rising-sun logo) to the 400 block of West Main Street. He recalls that, each semester, at least a hundreds UVA students would stroll over or telephone the store to buy the sofas that convert into big firm beds.

Over time, Levine says, he saw that the once-obscure product from Japan was becoming a commodity available at such discounters as Target and Walmart– and even via UPS delivery from Amazon. Concurrent with competitive pressures, Levine says he grew aware of potential health concerns from sleeping atop potentially off-gassing synthetic materials.

The result for the consumer is a boutique still packed with futons but now joined by an array of platform beds and natural-material mattresses, many layered with latex, which comes from the sap of plantation-grown rubber trees.

The business result for Levine, he says, is that first quarter unit sales have increased 517 percent over the same period last year.


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