Charlottesville Breaking News
By Michael Akey
“Farmers are the original environmentalists.”
That’s the phrase I heard several times during a recent state legislature committee hearing on a bill that would limit when farmers could apply manure and other fertilizers on croplands. Now, common sense would dictate that plants don’t take up nutrients when plants are not growing, and science tells us that during the winter these nutrients either seep into the water table or run off into the Chesapeake Bay.
Every possible excuse was heard as to why farmers just cannot be asked to limit the application of manure on their fields:
• “Other states pollute more; why should we be responsible?”
• “Fencing out livestock from streams is expensive.”
• “Poultry manure isn’t a waste product; it’s a benefit.”
It seems that farmers just do not want to take responsibility for the waste and manure produced on their farms. But are these excuses really valid?
As a farmer in Maryland, I understand the costs involved in starting a farm from scratch. I also understand the challenges involved in farming in a traditional way, where the animals can graze and the manure is utilized responsibly. While it was Maryland's Natural Resources Conservation Service office that helped get us on our feet, the lessons I’ve learned apply throughout the mid-Atlantic.
What about the cost for fencing animals out of our streams,...
For the first time in decades, natural light will flow into the former Coca-Cola bottling plant on Preston Avenue, as the new owner has ordered a tear-out of the brick panels that have darkened the former industrial site.
"It's kind of a demonstration project," says the building's owner, Martin D. Chapman, explaining that workers will replace the six front windows to show the state's Department of Historic Resources that it's serious about reviving the 1939 art-deco structure.
Chapman– who paid $2.5 million for the nearly two-acre site a year ago after Coca-Cola moved its bottling operation to Richmond– reveals that he plans to renovate the historic building as the headquarters for his company, Indoor Biotechnologies Inc. Currently located on industry-heavy Harris Street, his firm provides an array of environmental allergen products and tests.
Moving to Preston means not only a higher profile for Chapman's company, but he also plans to build an incubator space for smaller bio-tech firms as well as creating a new event/office facility inspired by Open Space, a collaborative workspace that opened near the downtown Atlantic Coast Athletic Club in 2009.
"We're moving ahead," says Chapman, who hopes his CityCampus Biotechnology Center will have over 30,000 square feet of space under roof by June 2013, "if the stars align."
Chapman says the...
While Michael Hash recently was freed after a judge's ruling of police and prosecutorial misconduct, another Central Virginian controversially convicted as a teen remains in prison, waiting for his clemency petition to reach the governor.
Nine months after a special prosecutor was appointed to look into his case, 27-year-old Robert Davis still languishes behind bars, passing a grim ninth anniversary for a brutal murder he says he didn't commit. Since last year's media attention, his claim of innocence has been bolstered by a legal clinic at Northwestern University Law School, which considers the Davis conviction a textbook case of false confession.
"We have seen the videotape and the transcript," says Laura Nirider, co-director of the Center on Wrongful Convictions of Youth. "To all of us, it stands out as one of the most intense police interrogations we've ever seen."...
Glioma is the most common and deadly kind of brain cancer. Each year, 10,000 Americans are diagnosed, and only half survive beyond a year. Only a quarter after two years. But research at the University of Virginia has led to the discovery of a toxic molecule which targets the disease and might also be used to target other cancers.
"The potential of this research is extremely high" said Dr. Benjamin "B.J." Purow at a recent fundraiser for his research.
Since 1997, the owners of Hamilton's at First & Main restaurant have held a fundraising dinner for the UVA Cancer Center, and the seven-course affair on March 6 raised $10,000 for Purow's research. The restaurant that night was a veritable brain trust, filled to capacity with doctors, researchers, grad students, cancer survivors, those who had lost loved ones to the disease, and those simply willing to pony up for a good cause.
"Cancer is immensely complex," said Purow, a physician in UVA's Neuro-Oncology Center, "and we have had to lift up the hood and look at the circuitry of cells."
Purow's research focuses on toxic microRNAs, a newly discovered molecule in cells that has the potential to target cancerous cells without damaging the normal ones. Purow earned a $375,000 grant in 2008 for his glioma work.
He explained that current...