Charlottesville Breaking News

Salatin shines again in 'Farmageddon'

Back in 2009, we had an opportunity to see Joel Salatin, the Shenandoah Valley's most famous farmer, in action. When we arrived at sunrise, the outspoken agriculturist was already high up in a pasture in front of a pen of chickens with a documentary film crew, being, well, outspoken.

As the mist lifted and the morning sun saturated the landscape with a golden glow, Salatin waxed eloquent about his happy chickens and turkeys, and the obstacles that small farmers face in a food system dominated by large corporations and the federal government.

Now that documentary film has arrived. Farmageddon: The Unseen War on America's Small Family Farms debuts this weekend in Washington, DC, and shows at the West End Theater through June 23. Then it's on to California and New York.

When the Hook experienced Salatin's Swoope-based Polyface Farms two years ago, the visit was capped by a breakfast of Salatin's eggs and sausage, raw milk from a nearby dairy farm, and some locally produced apple juice, a meal so satisfying that we didn't feel hungry all day.

Filmmaker Kristin Canty remembers it fondly.

"It was a great bonus getting a Polyface Farm fresh breakfast," she says. "I visited Joel's farm because I wanted to interview him about farming regulations that keep him from dis...

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The week in review

Longest mile: The Meadowcreek Parkway has obtained all its permits and VDOT is good to begin construction after City Council declines to block road building last week, according to Charlottesville Tomorrow. A group known as the Coalition to Preserve McIntire Park filed a lawsuit in February to stop the parkway and expects a ruling by the end of the year.

Lamest task force: The group charged six months ago with recommending new future locations for the Charlottesville City Market offers this suggestion to City Council: Keep the market where it is for another three years while they study further. Graham Moomaw has the story in the Daily Progress.

Least sustainable: Albemarle's membership in the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives is voted out June 8 by supes Ken Boyd, Lindsay Dorrier, Duane Snow, and Rodney Thomas, WINA reports. The decision follows a sparsely attended Tea Party briefing June 1 that warned...

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What do you think of the Western Bypass?

 

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Fast track: Western Bypass shifts into overdrive

It had been a long, politically charged night in Lane Auditorium. Inside this main room of the Albemarle County Office Building, there were accusations of "socialism" vs. "flat earth" in a standing-room-only environmental debate. Those of us who departed after five hours of that acrimony, however, missed the biggest news of the evening. Maybe the biggest news of the year.

Twenty-one years after its route was plotted, the U.S. 29 Western Bypass roared back to life.

To listen to a recording of the Board of Supervisors meeting, one can tell that chair Ann Mallek thought the meeting had already ended.

"I think we have come to the end of our official agenda," says a cheerful Mallek, thanking the weary crowd as they file out just after 11:30pm. Mallek then asks whether any of her fellow members of the Board of Supervisors has any issue to raise. One of them does. And history was made just before midnight on Wednesday, June 8, 2011.

The forgotten road?
There are people now running for elective office who literally wore diapers when the basic route of the Western Bypass was approved. Certainly, today's college students were diapered then– if they were alive in 1990, the year that state officials selected the route for get...

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Socialite renovates Social Hall

Former U.S. Senator George Allen knows when to hold 'em and when to fold 'em. The savvy former senator, who has begun campaigning for his old federal job, appears to have made a killing on "Social Hall" on 109 East Jefferson Street.


He bought the downtown building in 1978 for a mere $120,000 and sold it in 2006 for a cool $1.1 million. The buyer was Janice Aron, president of Kinloch Enterprises.


For much of its recent history, what began as a residence served as an office building and day-care center. Aron will make the Federal-style building a residence again.


Earlier this year, Aron began an extensive renovation by removing some later additions and breaking through a stone retaining wall to create a parking area. Other features include extensive landscaping, a lap pool, and a pool house.


The high-flying Aron, along with husband Robert Aron, once owned a six-bedroom house at Wellington's Palm Beach Polo and Country Club that they bought from BET network co-founder Sheila Johnson and reportedly leased to Madonna for a short time for $50,000 a month.


Locally, the Arons are known as Paramount Theater donors and as the former owners of Kinloch, a...

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