Charlottesville Breaking News

Fired up: County, UVA celebrate new station

Ivy residents are now a bit safer thanks to the opening of Albemarle's new fire station. At a ribbon cutting ceremony on Thursday, August 29, UVA and county honchos praised the collaboration that made the new station possible and spoke of the benefits, including faster response times to emergencies occurring in the swath of countryside between the city and Crozet, as well as reduced insurance rates for businesses and homeowners in that area as a result of the new station's proximity.

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Key West & Goliath: Neighbors square off with AT&T over tower

For four years now, concerned residents of the Key West neighborhood on Route 20 North have been battling telecommunication giant AT&T over the company's plans to place a 103-foot cell phone tower in the neighborhood. That battle will come to a head on September 11, when the proposal comes up for final approval by the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Armed with research showing that the tower could easily be placed elsewhere, that it will depress real estate values, harm the environment, and could potentially cause health problems, Key West residents hope to nix AT&T's plans.

"AT&T is attempting to improve its profits substantially by placing the tower in the middle of our neighborhood," says Key West resident Bob Toplin. "Clearly, the Board of Supervisors ought to stand up for the county’s citizens in a situation such as this."

 The Key West neighborhood, just a few miles north of Pantops Shopping Center, is only about six minutes from downtown Charlottesville, but the community enjoys a kind of peace and quietude typically found much farther out in the country. Deer roam the neighborhood in herds, unafraid of being hunted, and long-time residents there— which until earlier this summer included this reporter— are protective of that peace.

"We've evaluated a variety of options, and this site will provide residents of Key West and the surrounding area with the wireless phone and mobile Internet coverage they...

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SOL challenge: Schools target critical thinking to raise lagging scores

This year marks Charlottesville and Albemarle schools' second attempt to rebound from drops in pass rates on the math Standards of Learning exams, but last week’s report from the Virginia Department of Education show neither division made much progress. Last year, Albemarle's pass rate was 75 percent and Charlottesville's was 69 percent. In order to earn accreditation this year, 75 percent of students must pass the math test.

As the new school year begins, math teachers and instructional coaches are tasked with bolstering scores, but what does it take for a division to recover, and what do our schools plan to do moving forward?


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Local buffet: Food tours, fancy lunches, and cheap eats

Starting in October, you'll be able to go on guided, themed  "food tours" of Downtown Charlottesville, courtesy of a new start-up company called, appropriately enough, Charlottesville Food Tour. With the purchase of a ticket, you'll go on a two to three hour tour (with 2 to 10 people) and visit five to nine restaurants, sampling food and drink, chatting with chefs and business owners, learning about Charlottesville history, architecture, and culture along the way as well. Final prices on the tour haven't been determined yet, but those are expected to come out in the coming weeks.

Newcomers Rachel and Peter Sengenberger came up with the idea after going on their own food tour, because they couldn't find a food tour service in town.

"Since there wasn't an official tour, we spent an entire Saturday downtown," says Rachel Sengenberger. " We started at the Farmer's Market, went into every shop on the Downtown Mall, and stopped at different restaurants and food shops along the way. It was an incredible day. Pretty soon after that we decided to start Charlottesville Food Tour."

Beyond having a lot of fun and meeting new people, one of the primary reasons the Sengenbergers decided to start Charlottesville Food Tour was to become a part of the community; to be active participants in Charlottesville.

"Charlottesville is a foodie's oasis," says Sengenberger. "Our hope is that Charlottesville Food Tour will be...

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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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