Charlottesville Breaking News

Well, this Bonnaroo ticket giveaway is certainly our biggest contest ever

<355"http://www.stubhub.com">StubHub are just dead set on starting your summer off properly, aren't they? This month they're sending pop-savvy blues-rockers Grace Potter and the Nocturnals out on the road with up-and-coming country-rock quintet Futurebirds and a few other folks for what they're calling the "Bonnaroo Buzz" tour, essentially a 13-show lead-in to whip up excitement for the enormous music festival, which takes place 6/9 through 6/12 on a farm in Manchester, Tennessee.

Grace & Co. will hit the Jefferson Theater on 6/8, and we have three pairs of tickets to give away to that show; two of these pairs will also come with some sort of backstage artist meet-and-greet thing (so please wear something nice for once!).

BUT WAIT– THERE'S MORE.

One lucky winner will a...

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Ready Preddy: County opens new park

Despite slimmed down budgeting, Albemarle County will open two new parks this year. On May 19, it cut the ribbon on Preddy Creek Trails Park, the first to allow horses to canter along with hikers, bikers, and runners on its 571 acres and nearly nine miles of trails,

"We know we're getting a lot of equestrian use because horses leave more than footprints," quipped parks and rec director Bob Crickenberger at the park's Thursday morning dedication. Whether horse droppings will become a problem is TBD. As for dog walkers: bring along a plastic bag.

One way to deal with sliced budgets is to recruit free labor, and Crickenberger and Supervisor Ken Boyd paid tribute to the volunteers who put in more than 1,700 hours clearing 8.6 miles of trails. The cost to the county for the park was $332,990, according to Crickenberger.

Albemarle bought the parcel in 1969 to use as a reservoir, but a 1977 study determined its capacity wouldn't suffice, said Boyd. The nearly 600-acre tract sat untapped for years.

"In 2003, when I first ran for the board, I was walking door-to-door around the neighborhood, and I was asked what we were going to do with that Preddy property we owned," recalls Boyd, who was unaware the county held such a large tract, which includes 104 acres in Orange C...

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Tackles to traction: Kids playing football a recipe for trouble

When people see my son, because of his large size they often say he’s going to be a linebacker. Many parents would be thrilled to hear such a prediction about a son, but I'm not many parents.

Before my son was born I decided he wouldn’t play football. Baseball, yes. Basketball, yes. Tennis, lacrosse, track: yes, yes, yes. But football, no. 

The more we learn about football, the harder it is to justify allowing people to play it, especially children. When I was in middle school, a boy on our JV team had his femur snapped during a game. The sight made us turn away in horror. It was nearly a year before the boy could walk, and he never played football again. At the time it seemed the worst injury the sport could inflict. If only that were the case.

In 2009, the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, concluded a study on concussions in high school athletes that made a protruding femur look as serious as an ingrown toenail. As many as 40.5 percent of high school athletes who sustain concussions return to action prematurely; 16 percent of football players reported returning to play the same day they lost consciousness (remember not every concussion causes a blackout).

The study’s director “conservatively” estimated that high school athletes sustained more than 130,000 concussions in 2008, and the CDC reported that for kids ages 15-24, sports are second on...

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What do you know about Lyme disease?

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Friedman's field: The man who never left community college

Frank Friedman has been in community college for 33 years. The good news? He did get several degrees beyond an associate's, and a pretty sweet job as president of Piedmont Virginia Community College.

Friedman dispels a common misperception: "That all community colleges are grade 13, an extension of high school," he says. "Or that the only people who go to community college can't go any place else."

Instead, he's convinced, "We're in the golden age of community colleges."

And he touts PVCC as the best higher-ed deal around. Students can get a two-year degree at PVCC for around $3,000 a year and then transfer to a state four-year college.

"When you earn your diploma and put it on the wall," says Friedman, "it will say UVA or Virginia Tech, the same as anyone else who went there."

Friedman got his first taste of community college at Vincennes University in Indiana, which, despite the "university" in its moniker, is a community college.

He wanted to teach psychology at the college level, but Friedman learned something else at Vincennes. "I'm an individual who doesn't like to complain," he explains. "I like to solve things."

It was that skill on the college senate that led to a dean asking him to take on an administrative project, and his fate in community college was pretty much sealed.

Friedman came here in 1999 from Austin Community College, a massive 30,000-student, multiple-campus facility. Pi...

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