Charlottesville Breaking News

FunStuff: Charlottesville events March 15 and beyond

Funny stuff
Times may be tough, and gas prices may be high, but that's no reason to stop laughing. This week, Bent Theatre Improv comedy troupe gives you plenty of opportunity to do just that with two performances. On Wednesday, they'll be yucking it up family-friendly-style (they rate it PG-13); on Friday, they'll do it again, but leave the kiddies home for this one cuz with a self-imposed R-rating, things could get bawdy.
March 14, Para Coffee, 7pm, free; March 16, The Bridge, 8pm, pay what you will







Flippin' out
Cirque du Soleil may be the best known acrobatic act around, but it doesn't have the lock on eye-popping feats of balance and flexibility. The Golden Dragon Acrobats have won praise from...

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Like a phoenix: AlbCo Fair rebuilds... at Ash Lawn


Plagued by heat, storms, and– most-recently– a season-quashing unavailability of land, the Albemarle County Fair has just revealed that it will be reborn this August at the home of James Monroe, a bold commitment to celebrating agricultural heritage and an ambitious announcement that comes just a day after the company operating the State Fair of Virginia announced that it has gone out of business.

A typically five-day event, the Fair will be reborn three-day August 2nd-4th as a fun and festive “old-time country fair," according to  release from organizers. The farm animals, exhibits, baked goods, crafts, and family entertainment will happen at the presidential home known as Ash Lawn-Highland, located less than two miles past Monticello.

"It's got great facilities, and it's going to be close to town," says Fair President Rob Harrison, noting that this is a transitional year with a smaller number of vendors, no night-time events, fewer days of operation, and no carnival rides.

"It will be primarily agriculturally focused," says Harrison, noting that 4-H events will be paramount along...

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Groupenomics II: Companies still profiting from deal craze

About this time last year, the buzz surrounding the group buying craze was frenetic: Half-off food at your favorite restaurant! Up to 75 percent off a spa visit!

For some businesses struggling through a recession, it may have seemed like manna from heaven. In Charlottesville, Groupon and Living Social deals began producing pre-paid customers, and soon the phenomenon gave birth to copycat local ventures like CvilleSaver, CatchMyFire, and the Hook's own Daily Deal.

The buzz was bound to cool as customers experienced "deal fatigue" and businesses tired of taking losses as a form of so-called advertising (as the deal sites take up to 50 percent of a deal's revenue). Yet, a year later, the business model is still a going concern.

The biggest player, Groupon, went public in November after just three years in business, raising $700 million, the most by a US Internet company since Google's eye-popping $1.7 billion IPO in 2004. And just recently, Forbes reported that Groupon co-founder Eric Lefkofsky's net worth has reached $2.9 billion.

But what about the local players? Are they still making a go of it?

"I think the deal offers will fizzle out over time," says restaurant group manager Stu Rifkin, who (with The Nook)...

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Bright smile: Nonprofit dental center keeps kids grinning

Thanks to a little-known local institution, thousands of kids may have been saved from a lifetime of embarrassment, dimmed employment prospects, and potential health woes. The Community Dental Center just celebrated its 10,000th patient.

Tucked away in a Hydraulic Road office park, the Center looks like any other pediatric dentist's office, but the similarity ends with the bill. Unlike other dentist's offices, where a filling can set an uninsured parent back hundreds of dollars, the Center offers low-cost dental treatment to less-fortunate children.

A 2007 New York Times article found that for the first time since the 1980s, the number of Americans living with untreated dental problems was increasing. These problems are not merely cosmetic issues, as infected teeth can, in fact, become life-threatening infections.

Take the case of the cash-strapped 24-year-old Cincinnati man who died in September after a wisdom tooth became impacted. Even routine tooth decay can lead to tooth loss, which can create a cascade of new medical issues including jawbone loss. Moreover, psychological effects and a lifetime of lessened job prospects might ensue from tooth loss.

In addition to accepting Medicaid (which covers about hal...

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Web slinger: Waldo's new site takes aim at federal corruption

When it comes to building websites that promote government transparency, Waldo Jaquith has built a strong reputation– and it'll likely only be bolstered by the March 8 launch of, a website that Jaquith spent the last four months building, working several days a week inside the White House.

"The mission came from a campaign promise made by Obama," Jaquith explains, "to provide a single location where people could enter the name of a person, agency, or business and pull up federal ethics records pertaining to them."

When it came time to fulfill that promise, the White House didn't have to look far to find Jaquith, a programmer who previously created Richmond Sunlight, a website that makes sense of the General Assembly. In June, he was invited to the White House as a "Champion of Change" for his work on that site, and when he arrived in D.C. to receive the award, that's when he got the job offer.

"They offered me a position as 'entrepreneur in residence'," says Jaquith, who says he loved the idea– but not the move to D.C. it might have entailed. He turned it down, and another offer followed right awayR...

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