Charlottesville Breaking News

Share the wealth: Even temporary grandkids need love

Hi, Carolyn!      

Over the years, I've read numerous complaints about grandparents who showed favoritism to some grandkids based on gender, adoption or step situations. Each time, I've been outraged that adults could be so unfair to innocent children.      

But I'm finding the situation isn't so easily resolved when you're in the middle of it. My husband and I became grandparents a year ago. We were beyond thrilled! We don't have a lot of money, but we cut some corners to buy cute gifts on the appropriate occasions.      

Now ... my stepson has started dating a woman with two young children. The 26-year-old, college-dropout stepson has made having a family his No. 1 goal in life (maybe to make up for his parents' divorce?). He actually searched dating sites for women with children.      

He's now moving in with this woman, who only a month ago agreed to be publicly identified as his girlfriend. (This is only his second relationship. The first one lasted just months.)      

Anyway ... with the holidays coming up, I don't know what to do. Do we spend an equal amount on these other two kids? I don't want to be a jerk to these two little girls, but I also don't want to keep diverting money from our granddaughter to a string of kids we might not see again. Am I being a total jerk? I just want to be a ...     &n...

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'Win-win': Putting goats to work

"This project has been my baa-baa-by," jokes Michael Juers, facilities manager for the nonprofit Christian Aid on Fifth Street Extended, where, for the past two weeks, a herd of 50 goats have been hard at work clearing an overgrown hillside.

Juers says he'd grown frustrated while getting bids for clearing the hillside that slopes down to a playing field used by a variety of local sports organizations. Estimates for traditional clearing were coming in at more than $10,000, and there was the matter of toxic chemicals being used so close to a stream that crosses the property. Enter Goat Busters, a local firm that puts goats to work doing what they do best: eating everything.

The organization offered Christian Aid, which supports nearly 3,000 ministries around the globe, a nonprofit discount, and the eventual cost of around $2,000, Juers says, was an added benefit.

Watching the goats lounging in tall grass or under brush, relaxing and eating simultaneously, Juers smiles.

"It's win-win for everyone," he says.

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Cheers! These "Drinking Buddies" are cool

By Richard Roeper

Everything about Drinking Buddies seems just about right. Take the fight, for example. There's this guy, Luke, who's helping his co-worker move. They rent a truck, but it won't fit in one of those narrow Chicago neighborhood alleys behind the co-worker's new digs, so they have to leave it in the middle of the street while they quickly unload the furniture. Not quickly enough for the impatient motorist who lays on the horn and starts yelling for them to move the truck, NOW. The argument turns physical— but it's not one of those typical movie fights with punches that sound like baseball bats hitting leather sofas. It's brutal and aggressive, but it's also kind of stupid and embarrassing and awkward.

These are two guys who don't fight, getting into a fight. So it goes with the casual conversations, the workplace friendships, the after-work get-togethers, the romances, the breakups and the quiet resolutions in Drinking Buddies, a through-and-through indie-feeling film from director-writer-editor Joe Swanberg that almost never falls into the trap of being too smug, too cool, in its casual realism. You know that annoying beer comm...

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Get Out! events, shows, things to do

Don't judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant. -Robert Louis Stevenson

Reap what they sow

Thomas Jefferson was a legendary gardener, and if around today, would probably be a self-proclaimed "foodie". He was known for his plant experimentation and creating a sustainable agriculture at Monticello, so what better place to celebrate the summer harvest than at Jefferson's house? Head over to the beautiful West Lawn of Jefferson's Monticello this weekend and taste the plenitude of heirloom fruits and vegetables while learning about organic gardening at the 7th Annual Heritage Harvest Festival.

You can purchase separate tickets for premium workshops and lectures held on Friday by local gardening experts. Try "Herb Box on a Budget" hosted by Althea and Matthew Raiford or "Seed Saving in the Monticello Vegetable Garden" with Pat Brodowski. The lectures and workshops go all day on Friday and conclude with a Mountaintop Tasting and Grand Preview dinner for those who have purchased a Festival VIP Pass.

On Saturday, there will be chef demonstrations as part of general admission into the festival. Demonstrations include "Cake Decorating: So Easy a Kid Can Do It" with Kimberly Ligh, "Why We Eat What We Eat" with Michele Kayal, Bonny Wolf and Domenica Marchetti, "Maize, The Mother Corn" with Kelley Wilkinson, and "Grains in the Garden: A Quick and Healthy...

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Enough is enough: State should bow out of liquor biz

By Coy Barefoot


Our government has no business being in the liquor business. It's time for the Virginia state government to get out of the business of making money off a statewide monopoly on liquor sales. This is an embarrassing anachronism from the days of alcohol prohibition. Our government was not created to sell liquor. Our government was not founded to operate a profit-driven agency. Business is better left in the hands of business.

Washington state used to have the same 1920s-era monopoly on liquor that Virginia now has. But in a 2011 referendum, voters wisely put an end to that. Washington state privatized liquor sales last year. And you know what? The sky did not fall. Drunk driving is down, and the state is actually making more money. Go figure.

Governor Bob McDonnell (back in less scandal-ridden days), led a valiant effort to get the Virginia government out of the liquor business, but a coalition of Democrats and Republicans opposed him. Some Democrats did a lot of brow-wiping over the threat of losing millions of dollars the state makes selling booze. Some social conservatives did a lot of hand-wringing about the idea of a liquor store on every corner across the Commonwealth. The very same folks who endlessly beat the drum about less government and more free enterprise stood in the Governor’s way and against their own purported beliefs.

The day will come when a bipartisan group of leaders steps...

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