Charlottesville Breaking News

Winter wallop? Snow forecast up in the air

So far, winter 2012 hasn't been much like winter at all, with temperatures more than three degrees above average and snowfall nearly 14 inches below average. That could all begin to change this weekend, as the season's first major winter storm heads this way, expected to hit Sunday and continue overnight into Monday. But don't panic just yet, says State Climatologist Jerry Stenger.

"Right now," says Stenger, "it looks like it's going to be too warm to support snowfall or accumulation until enough cold air has gotten into place. By that point, most of the water will have already come down as rain."
While Stenger says Charlottesville and the surrounding area won't likely see more than an inch or two, he notes that March is the month in which Charlottsville typically gets the most snow– meaning we may not out of the winter woods just yet.

"It could wind up being a big difference," he adds, if this storm shifts 20 or 30 miles one way or the other. "That's the danger of winter forecasting here in Central Virginia."

Whatever happens, we can rest assured it won't be anything like Romania.

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New fest: SXSW inspires TTFF

Last year, Paul Beyer ran for City Council. This year, he's starting a music/art festival modeled on Austin's South by Southwest.

With film, book and photo festivals already well-established, it's not like Charlottesville has a dearth of such events.

"I think it completes the circle," says Beyer. "This is music plus. It establishes Charlottesville as a creative center for music, art, and innovation." And, he points out, there's no Downtown Mall music festival.

With tongue-in-cheek homage to Thomas Jefferson, the event is called the Tom Tom Founders Festival, and has the obligatory quote from Jefferson: "I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past."

The three headliners and 50 bands in multiple venues will be announced in March. TTFF starts April 13– TJ's birthday– and culminates May 11-13. Promises Beyer, "It's a month of creativity."

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Cavorting: Wintergreen wide open for business

Two girls cavort on the Eagle's Swoop slope at Wintergreen Resort Wednesday night. While the Resort has recently announced financial difficulties, the snow-covered slopes remain wide open for skiing, snowboarding, and– when nobody's watching– a little free sliding.

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Sunday hunting R.I.P.-- at least this year

The effort to overturn the ban on Sunday hunting sailed through the Senate last month, only to meet the fate of so many bills and die in subcommittee in the House of Delegates February 15.

Eight bills allowing Sunday hunting were introduced in the General Assembly this year, and those from the House of Delegates were already dead, despite the seeming groundswell of support from the board of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, which said it needed the revenue, and Governor Bob McDonnell.

"Hunters didn't go down to Richmond and speak for it," says Tony Shifflett, a supporter of the change. "They stand back and wait for it to happen."

Shifflett says he's not shocked the effort died. "I thought it it had a 50-50 chance," he says.

He adds, "It's inevitable. It has to happen. You should not be allowed to be told what you can do on your own property."

Another bill that would have effectively gutted the law enforcement abilities of Department of Game and Inland Fisheries officers by prohibiting them from inspecting game and fish catches, Senate bill 26, failed a February 14 vote in the Senate.

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