Charlottesville Breaking News

Rodney's role: 'I am not a wheeler dealer'

Rodney Thomas is mad. It's one day after a prominent blogger has accused the Albemarle supervisor of agreeing to "grease the skids" for the construction of the Western U.S. 29 bypass by limiting access to the rest of 29.

"That's a bunch of baloney," says Thomas. He called up blogger Jim Bacon to let him know he didn't appreciate his August 10 Bacon's Rebellion story, "Gentleman's Agreement," that contends Thomas made a handshake deal to limit stoplights, median crossings, and driveways on Albemarle's portion of U.S. 29 in exchange for $230 million in funding for the Western 29 bypass and U.S. 29 widening, along with money for completion of Hillsdale Drive, the Best Buy Ramp at U.S. 29/250, Berkmar Drive extension, and the Belmont Bridge replacement.

(Bacon considered Thomas' reaction in a followup column, "When does a deal become a side deal?")

"There is no deal," says Thomas.

Limiting access– or access management, as it's called– is already in place with future access to 29 controlled by VDOT, says Thomas. Not creating any more bottlenecks like stoplights and median crossovers seems a reasonable expectation to keep traffic moving.

Yet the fact remains that, along with fellow freshman supe Duane Snow, a...

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Scalped: Dave & Tim show drew some 'cockroaches'

So you wanted tickets to the sold-out Dave Matthews/Tim Reynolds show on Saturday August 20 at the nTelos Pavilion? You could still get them even a day before the concert, but you might have paid a pretty penny more than the $50 per ticket most concertgoers paid. On Craigslist, for instance, one website– clickyticket.com– had a variety of seats available ranging from the low $400s up to nearly $800. One ebay listing brought in $1,500 for two VIP tickets– more than twice their $300 apiece face value.

According to Pavilion GM Kirby Hutto, scalping– when tickets are sold by a third party, most often for a profit– is an increasing problem at the Pavilion, thanks in part to the ever-higher-profile nature of the acts coming to Charlottesville.

"The whole scalping world has just exploded over the last few years," says Hutto, who notes that unlike D.C., Virginia has no laws prohibiting the resale of tickets, no matter how high the profit margin. That leaves Virginia venues without much recourse, says Hutto, noting that if a scalper mentions the actual seat number in an online ad, the Pavilion may cancel the ticket and then resell it. Most scalpers, however, are craftier than that and list only the section or row of the tickets they're listing, making it nearly impossible to determine which tickets are being sold fraudulently.

Even if you have hundreds of dollars to spend, buying a ticket from a third-party seller is r...

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How do you like the look of the new Trader Joe's?

Click here for image of Trader Joe's.

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Feel good? 'Help' glosses over pain of Jim Crow

The Help is a safe film about a volatile subject. Presenting itself as the story of how African-American maids in the South viewed their employers during Jim Crow days, it is equally the story of how they empowered a young white woman to write a best-seller about them, and how that book transformed the author's mother. We are happy for the two white women, and a third, but as the film ends it is still Jackson, Miss., and Ross Barnett is still governor.

Still, this is a good film, involving and wonderfully acted. I was drawn into the characters and quite moved, even though all the while I was aware it was a feel-good fable, a story that deals with pain but doesn't care to be that painful. We don't always go to the movies for searing truth, but more often for reassurance: Yes, racism is vile and cruel, but hey, not all white people are bad. Full review.

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Sweet taste of success for Sweet Frog

Since opening last summer, Sweet Frog, the self-serve frozen yogurt place on the Downtown Mall, has been been pumping out the stuff as fast as folks can work the handles on the store's bank of yogurt machines. Plans are already in the works for another location in the Barracks Road Shopping Center, and, according to Sweet Frog's owners, the owner of the original Sweet Frog in Short Pump is planning to open a store in the Hollymead Town Center.

What's more, the Sweet Frog franchise, which wasn't even a franchise when the Mall store opened, has taken off.

According to Sweet Frog co-owner Giovanni Sestito, who also owns Vita Nova pizzeria, it's all because of the Charlottesville Board of Architectural Review.

Huh?

Readers might recall that the Downtown Mall Sweet Frog store opening was delayed nearly eight months because the building's owner, Joe Gieck, demolished the historic facade of the building, once home to the Victory Shoe Store, without BAR approval.

Originally, Sestito and partner Robert Lupica had planned to call their Downtown y...

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