Monthly Archives: October 2009

Oh, The Places We Go….

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email

Monday: Get up 7am and drive to Blacksburg, Virginia. Work 17 straight hours on the story of two murdered VT students and a missing Tech student.

Tuesday: Drive back from Blacksburg. Exhausted…

Wednesday: Come to work, thinking I’m headed to City Hall… end up running out the door to Charlottesville. I cover a press conference on the missing VT student. Spend the day on the UVA campus. (PS.. my rival school… I went to the University of Maryland) PSS… (I’m beginning to think I’m on a college tour for the week. Is Harrisonburg’s JMU next?)

Thursday: No more travels. (I sing and dance in the  newsroom with joy!) Then I head out to interview a doctor and stumble on to the fact that the VCU Medical Center is so overloaded with H1N1 patients it is opening a whole treatment area just for influenza cases. I was suddenly in a room surrounded by flu patients. I interviewed a 9-year-old girl who was just diagnosed with swine flu. (If I get sick this should totally qualify for workman’s comp! Right?)  

PSSS… I can’t wait to see what’s in store for me on Friday 🙂

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Jewell, Road Trips and Council Stuff

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email

 Road Trips:

Hello Blog World! Man, you take a weekend off and the Richmond Beat blows up! I’ll start this posting telling you about my road trip on Monday. Myself and two photographers were sent to Blacksburg. Road trips sound like fun (and it’s nice to get away from the office) but they are truly way more work than a normal news day. We left at 7 in the morning. We got to Blacksburg around 11:00 and immediately started collecting interviews. You don’t get much of a lunch break. You have to turn several stories quickly and you work straight through until 11:30 at night. LONG LONG DAY! We are driving back as I write this post.  I used to work in B’burg, so I really enjoy going back there, but it’s always a whirlwind trip and I don’t get to see many people.

Jewell: I’m off on the weekends and a lot of times I’m never around a TV. But my phone started ringing early Saturday morning. I know many of you have asked what I think of this situation, but because this is a story I’ll be covering closely… mums the word.  

Council Stuff:

The Richmond City Council is going after people parking in handicapped spaces. The City is considering increasing the fee for violators from $100 to $200.

The city is also moving forward with plans to increase the fee you pay if your car is towed. Many tow company’s in the area are already charging more than the city code allows. This plan could go before the entire city council for a vote by mid-november.

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Manchester’s Makeover

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email

When I first came to Richmond I almost moved to the Manchester area. The apartment guides and real estate folks kept telling me it was the hot new area of the city. They used words like “up and coming” “potential”. When I went to the area, with a map of Richmond on my dashboard all I saw was run-down manufacturing buildings. I thought, “this is up and coming?”  Wow! what a difference a year and a half makes. I now know Richmond much better and I too can see the potential. Today I did a story updating the renovation project at the Manchester Courthouse.  I was amazed at all the construction going on just a block away. There are crews renovating several buildings along Hull Street. And people seem genuinely excited about the new Croaker’s Spot opening next month. There are dozens of new apartments opening. A pizza shop is coming and I hear a coffee shop is next. I can’t wait for the courthouse to re-open this January. Being stuck covering a court case all day won’t be so bad.. there will be plenty of places to stop for lunch.

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Roundabouts Coming Around Again

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email\

Update: (to a story I brought you FIRST last Friday… despite what another media outlet is reporting on its website!) The city is pulling the roundabout proposal, but only for a few weeks. Each roundabout will be introduced, voted on and dealt with individually. Not really a big deal.. each round about I told you about is still on the table. The funding’s already been approved by the federal government.. it now just up to the city council to decide whether to proceed. End of update!

Richmond is looking at building some more roundabouts in the city. The last one was finished a few months ago in Church Hill at 25th street. It caused an uproar while under construction, but it’s been quiet since it opened. The new roundabouts are being considered for:

1) 25th, Fairmount Avenue and Nine Mile Road

2) Belt Boulevard and Hull Street Road

3) 23rd and Fairfield Avenue

4) Roanoke Street and Forest Hill

The last is the most controversial of the proposed projects. Residents are already asking a lot of questions and have major concerns about Forest Hill Park. Traffic engineers admit several trees will have to go and .2 of an acre of the park would be gobbled up by the roundabout.  The measure is currently before city council. Here’s a link to my full story.

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Flatheads, Swine Flu and Debates Oh My!

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email

SWINE FLU:

Achoo! I know at least 10 people who came down with the swine flu in the last week! I am determined NOT to be the next to go down.  Alas, I missed out on my chance for a free H1N1 shot today. I was at a press conference where the Mayor got a shot to set the example for the rest of the city. When he finished, they had a few to give away, but ran out quickly. I have a feeling we’re going to be hearing a lot of stories about the Health Department running out of the vaccine.

BASEBALL NAME CONTROVERSY:

With the Hambones out,  I thought it would be fair to point out tonight that almost all of the remaining names could be considered offensive to someone.  In this politically correct day and age, it’s hard to please  anyone. I received an email today about the name Flatheads: Did you know…

Flathead Indians are a Native American race of people/tribe living between the Cascade Mountains and Rocky Mountains. Appropriately named the Salish – they initially lived entirely east of the Continental Divide but established their headquarters near the eastern slope of the Rocky Mountains. Occasionally hunting parties went west of the Continental Divide but not west of the Bitterroot Range. The easternmost edge of their ancestral hunting forays were the Gallatin, Crazy Mountain, and Little Belt Ranges. They were called the Flathead Indians by the first white men who came to the Columbia River. The name, used in error, in the pejorative as slang – was said to derive from the flat skull produced by binding infants’ skulls with boards and is used for many Native Americans

I’m pretty sure, the baseball owners meant a type of Catfish… but I’m also pretty sure they meant no harm by the name Hambone either.  Just saying….

7th DISTRICT SEAT DEBATE:

The 7th District Candidates Forum is Thursday, October 15 from 6:30-9PM at the Robinson Theater. Open to all interested citizens of the community and 7th District. Contact John Johnson at (804)814-1066

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It’s Monday: What’d I Miss This Weekend?

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email

I’ve been out-of-town since Thursday so here’s an update to a few stories…..

GRTC Photo Controversy:

The Free Press has apologized. The newspaper posted a disgraceful picture after the deadly bus crash two weeks ago. (You can read my prior thoughts about that here.) The editor and chief has finally addressed the incident in the newspaper.  He also posted several of your comments on the editorial page. For all that the newspaper did wrong that day, I commend the editor for addressing the error in judgement and taking full responsibility.

In the paper he wrote….  “I pledge that the Free Press will learn from our mistake, with the goal of becoming more attuned to the sensitivities of
humanity. I pledge that we will make a greater effort to practice
what we preach.”
— Raymond H. Boone

Here is a link to the apology. (Make sure you scroll to page A8.)

The Name Game:

I’ve tried my hardest to refrain from commenting on the names in the running for the new Richmond baseball team. I’m going to stick by that rule, but many of you seem to have a lot to say. 🙂  I will say that Double A teams in the country often have silly or goofy names.  It’s part of the marketing to get people into the seats for Double A.  You have to remember these are players who are twice removed from the pro’s…. not one step away. It’s harder to get people excited, which is why the names are usually silly. Also, you have to give it to the new managers of the Richmond “Whatchmacallits.”  They’ve gotten more press about these names in the last week, then the Richmond Braves got in a month’s time. Smart marketing!

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Ukrop’s Deal Falls Apart

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email

It’s back to square one for Ukrop’s. Talks with a private equity group have broken down.  Supermarket News is reporting the private equity group dropped out of the bidding last week. The trade magazine sites an anonymous source who says the deal broke down because of  “contractual issues and an inability to get financing.”  The source says Ukrop’s has since resumed shopping itself to bidders from the earlier rounds.

So, does that mean Harris Teeter is back in the running? The source says H.T.  did not want to buy all of the Ukrop’s store locations.  Which again, brings into question the timing of the chain’s decision to close its Roanoke location.  Ukrop’s has never commented on the potential sale.

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