Tag Archives: The Diamond

Top Ten Richmond Stories of 2009

Rachel DePompa – bio | email   

Back from vacation and ready to work. Well, for three days. Then I’m off on vacation again! In the meantime, our Henrico County reporter Andy Jenks was asked to name the top 10 stories of 2009. A difficult task I think he aced. His top stories covered our entire viewing area, so I’ve decided to ride his coattails and post the top stories for the city this year. My criteria was simple… the story must have happened in the city’s borders and must be a talker!  Here goes….

10. Burglar Shot and Killed in Union Hill: This one hits criteria number two right away. A Virginia Union student shoots and kills a man breaking into his girlfriends car. Eric Driver is eventually charged with murder and instantly sparks a gun debate over whether or not you have the right to protect personal property. His case goes to trial in February.

9. CenterStage/Miller and Rhoades Open: Two Richmond landmarks are open again. Miller and Rhoades is now a hotel and condos. The project was years in the making and has sparked the revitalization of Broad Street. CenterStage soon followed. Also years in the making, it will be interesting to see what the venue does for arts in the River City.  

8. Storm Water Utility Fee: They said no new taxes… but this new utility fee certainly has become one. Homeowners on average pay about 45 dollars a year. Businesses on the other hand face stiffer charges. We’ve seen some bills in the thousands. The fee is designed to help pay for future storm water projects. Now, there are rumblings that the City Council may revisit this idea.

7. The City’s Budget: The good news.. no layoffs this year at City Hall. The bad news… we’re now 10 million in the hole. The stimulus money got us through, but now some tough choices are ahead at City Hall. This story will carry over into 2010….

6. Shockoe Bottom Development Strikes Out: A baseball stadium in the Bottom? There were no grey areas here. You were either for or against this idea. And the naysayers won out, and the Bottom lost a big chance to grow. Or did the Bottom win because it can choose its own identity? I suspect this healthy debate will rage on for years to come.  

5. GRTC Deadly Accident: A woman walking to work is mowed down by a GRTC bus. She was in the cross walk and had a walk light. The driver was eventually convicted of reckless driving. A sad story that turned tabloid when a local media outlet decided to run a graphic and unnecessary picture of the accident. You can read my thoughts about that in prior blog posts. 

 4. Vacant Properties and Richmond Slumlords: In a down economy, you expect to see some blight and down trodden areas. But, the attention vacant properties are getting this year deserves a nomination. Lets see??? We have Oliver Lawrence going to jail and then having to serve part of his sentence in one of his rundown properties. You have my Don Lacey investigation: a former Henrico County cop and real estate agent accused of bilking dozens of Richmonders out of millions. His vacant properties line Richmond’s East End. And then there’s the new legislation being considered by City Council to give people tax breaks for building on vacant lots or for fixing up old homes. And don’t forget the new slumlord website which calls out bad property owners.

3. Wilder Out/Jones In: This story technically happened in late 2008 with the election, but Jones didn’t take office until January. Anyways, Jones jump to the helm of this city is a complete 180 from what we had just one year ago. Though, it makes my job a little more boring, I’m sure residents are grateful for the calm at City Hall. The City Council and the Mayor actually get along. We’ve had no knock down/drag out fights. If there’s a disagreement, it appears to be worked out rather than stonewalled or fought in the media spotlight. All I have to say is this… What a difference a year makes?!?!

2. Squirrels Crack Richmond: (Baseball is back) After a year without a team, it was  nice to have some good news to report. And this new ownership group has really gotten people excited about baseball again. Even if you don’t like the team name or the logo, you were probably interested in knowing what it was going to be. My twitter page went NUTS the day the team decided on a logo. Let’s just see if that enthusiasm continues to opening day.

1. #Ukropalyse: No other story gave me such a headache this year! 🙂 (that’s why it gets my number one vote!) Also, no other story generated more emails to my inbox, twitter messages and secret phone calls and anonymous sources. With more than 3,000 employees in the area and a shopper in every household, people wanted every bit of information they could get on this Richmond icon. Six months of rumors became news headlines. And just before the New Year, we have the end of an era. Ukrop’s sold its stores to Royal Ahold.

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Filed under Baseball, Blogging, Budget, CenterStage, City Hall, City Hall Talk, Doug Wilder, Dwight Jones, Election, Martin's Food Markets, Ukrop's

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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Filed under Baseball, GRTC

Baseball Comes Swinging Back!

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

As a huge sports fan, I can’t for the life of me understand why Richmond doesn’t have any sort of professional team. I’m originally from Maryland (just outside DC) and I can’t miss a Redskins, Capitals or Maryland Terrapins game. Throw in the Wizards, and the Nationals and I’m set! So, why oh why can’t a professional team catch on here in Richmond? People have told me over and over “Richmond is just not a sports town.” I’m still trying to figure out why. 

 

 

The scene is set for Baseball at the Diamond

The scene is set for Baseball at the Diamond

In the meantime, I got to meet the owners for the new team in town and I have to say they were all pretty cool guys. They seem genuinely excited to be in the River City and are optimistic their product will catch on. Only time will tell, but I plan on catching a game or two, to see what all the hub-bub is about. Will you?

 

 

 

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Filed under Baseball

Add Manchester to the List

Rachel DePompaRachel DePompa – bio | email 

I try not to weigh in on things and I’m not really going to right now. What you are about to read is more tongue and cheek, but I think it perfectly sums up Richmond’s Baseball Debacle.  So here goes…..

I’m pretty sure if I hold a press conference tomorrow to say I think it’s a really good idea to put a stadium on Belle Isle… just because.  My suggestion would get headlines. (Am I mocking the Richmond media, including myself right now? When it comes to baseball… YES!)

Seriously. The Times Dispatch’s FRONT PAGE story today sounded more like this….. “Someone told a guy, who told another guy, who mentioned in passing, that it would be a really, really good idea to maybe, someday put a minor league baseball stadium on some old land that first guy has… that he will soon be done with.” 

I get that this is just another idea being “batted” around, but still, even when we have actual drawings and plans there’s no clear place to take them. Everything just seems so spread out. If you want to revamp the Diamond, well don’t call the city cause the RMA owns it. If you want to put it in the Bottom, then you make the counties AND the RMA feel left out of the discussion. And we are constantly being told a team is definitely coming. Sounds to me like everyone just agrees to disagree.  At this point, slap a fresh coat of paint on the Diamond and call it a day.

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Filed under Baseball, Funny