Charlottesville Breaking News

Shenandoah unburned: Rain, humidity cancel planned Park fire

 A planned burn of 500 acres in the Jarman's Gap area of Shenandoah National Park that was to commence Sunday was canceled due to weather, says Park spokesperson Barb Stewart, who had announced the planned May 1 burn a few days earlier.

Park officials had hoped to set fires that would slowly burn downhill along Waynesboro-side mountain slopes– in order to reduce the buildup of potentially hazardous fuel on the forest floor and make way for native flora accustomed to occasional fires.

However, Sunday's combination of light rain and high humidity convinced Park officials that the resulting smoke would not disperse.

"They key phrase was 'weather permitting,'" says Stewart, "and, alas, the weather did not permit."

Stewart says officials hope to reschedule the burn this fall or next spring.


Original story posted April 29 at 11:41am:

500 acres: National Park begins prescribed burn Sunday

Shenandoah National Park officials want to alert the public that they plan to burn 500 acres near Jarman's Gap in the Park's south district on Sunday and Monday. The May 1 and 2 fires on the Waynesboro side of the Gap are designed to boost forest health and reduce the chance of wildfire, according to a Park release.

"The fire will mimic natural processes as much as possible," according to the release. "It will be lit in such a way that...

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Homeless? Kluge house under foreclosure-- again

The first foreclosure in Patricia Kluge's life is now also her latest. And this time it's personal: the house in which she and her husband live.

A year ago, the 6,600-square-foot abode on 2.9 acres, dubbed "Glen Love," came under foreclosure when Kluge's development partners went bankrupt. She and her husband, Bill Moses, reclaimed the house at auction in front of the Albemarle Courthouse, and the couple moved in late last spring.

The one and only residence in their planned high-end agri-subdivision, Vineyard Estates, the house may be sold by Sonabank, which claims default on a $3.675 million loan. Located at 2621 Coopers Lane, the place is currently assessed at $2,496,500.

Since Glen Love first went up for auction in March 2010, the beleaguered couple have endured several foreclosure auctions that have taken their vineyards, winery, and equipment, as well as Kluge's Albemarle House mansion and the 511-acre Vineyard Estates subdivision, most of which Sonabank took back in late January.

In 2006, tracts in the first phase of Vineyard Estates were priced from $300,000 to $2.75 million. It's unclear from the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors website whether any of the other 24 lots in Vineya...

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Appeal play: McIntire plan still calls for nixing softball

As Yogi Berra liked to say, "It ain't over 'til it's over."

While softball enthusiasts at McIntire Park may think the fields are safe, the City's master plan for the park still calls for their demolition.

In 2008, softballers were shocked to learn that the City's approved plan for the renovation of the park called for the elimination of the two lighted softball fields in favor of an all-purpose rectangular synthetic turf field. So they raised a ruckus. In response, Mayor Dave Norris proposed saving the fields, but some Councilors wanted more information. The decision was deferred and a joint City/County field allocation study was ordered.

Today, Norris admits there wasn't enough input from the softball community before the master plan with the field switcheroo was adopted, and he remains an advocate of preserving the iconic fields.

There's just one problem. The study hasn't been completed yet, Norris isn't sure Council will support the amendment, and the decision to ditch the softball fields has already been made.

"Unless someone does something," says City Council candidate Bob Fenwick, a long-time advocate for saving the fields, "those softball fields will be eliminated."

Fenwick suspects the issue has become a political hot potato ahead of the coming elections, as no candidate wants to be seen as the...

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On the road again: Local bands hit the festival circuit

Who hasn't begged Mom and Dad to let them take a roadtrip over a summer weekend to catch their favorite bands or been thrilled to see multiple artists performing on the same bill? And what great artist hasn't packed up the van and festival-hopped across the country, hitting Lollapalooza and Pitchfork in Chicago or Bonnaroo in Tennessee or Coachella in California?

But it's not just the artists and audiences that benefit. A music festival injects life into a town, if just for a weekend, as fans flock from across the state or country to camp, bands book up hotels and restaurants, and the local music industry is jolted to its core. For Charlottesville, the rise of area and regional festivals has added depth to an already ambitious music scene.

"We're at the beginning of something very exciting," says Michael Allenby, who launched The Festy Experience last summer in Nelson County. "There's killer infrastructure," he says. "At this point, it's up to the artist to push the scene."

From the Festy, which took place at the Devil's Backbone Brewery, and the ever-popular Crozet Music Festival, to the Dave Matthews Caravan in New Jersey and Camp Barefoot in West Virginia, music festivals have put spark in the regional music scene. We survey eight festivals coming your way in 2011 and chat with seven festival-minded artists.

The Festiv...

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Local produce: New film, 'Take Shelter,' wins acclaim in Cannes

Charlottesville seems to be a lucky charm for filmmakers these days. Several recent locally made documentaries have found wider audiences at international film festivals and on PBS. Now, another film with a local connection will show at the most prestigious festival of all: Cannes.

Take Shelter, a feature film that follows a husband and father as he struggles with what's either the coming apocalypse or the onset of schizophrenia, was dubbed a "work of art" by Vanity Fair, and has already won acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival. Now, it's one of only seven films– and the only American picture– selected for the Cannes International Critics Week line-up, a 50-year-old competition for first and second-time filmmakers that runs concurrently as part of the Cannes film festival, which takes place May 11-20 in that city on the French Riviera.

"We're very excited," says the film's executive producer, Keswick-based Chris Perot. A 1997 Albemarle High Schoo...

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