Mayor Stoney and The Cloak Of Invisibility

Charismatic Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney won this past election partly with strong calls for transparency and involvement, but, only a few months into his reign, there have been rumors that he has been briefly trying on one of his predecessors’ favorite talismans, Richmond City Hall’s Cloak of Invisibility.

Supposedly a leftover from the Lord of the The Rings or the Harry Potter sagas, the Cloak has well-worn history in Richmond politics.

Certainly the Mayor cannot be accused of being absent. He often posts a public schedule and continues to make public appearances. He was at the Church Hill Irish festival last weekend, complete with green shirt. He was interviewed on WRIR not too long ago and he likes to visit schools and inspire children.

Yet City Hall watchdogs point to recent financially oriented incidents like when the proposed budget disappeared for a time, or when a dispute with auditors suddenly ended shortly after it surfaced. Activists wonder about his responses to Monroe Park and Shockoe Bottom concerns.

Of course with Altria, VCU, and Dominion involved, there may be politicks. Citizens should polish their crystal balls and hope Stoney can resist the Cloak’s allure. Remember the powerful and cleansing properties of pure, clear water.

‘Bro Council’ Meeting Later This Evening

Despite recent rainy weather, the outdoor seating has been arranged and the texts have already been sent calling for a special meeting of the ‘Bro Council’ this evening, according to one unidentified ‘bro’.

According to him, the agenda will include a thorough examination of recent alcohol expenditures, the rent/lease ‘situation’, and the social status of one of the main bros’ girlfriends.

“These are private as well as sensitive, emotional matters,” explained the unidentified bro, “so I expect some loud but whispered shouting followed by spirited foosball”.

Bro Council has become something of an institution, and is well regarded for its ability to deliberate and settle bros’ issues in a civilized and timely manner.

World War I Historical Reenactment In Monroe Park This Thursday

After prolonged discussion between local history groups, the City government, and the Monroe Park Conservancy, plans are reportedly coming together for the staging of a historic reenactment of World War I trench warfare in Monroe Park this coming Thursday. This event will correspond with other World War I centennial commemoration events happening throughout the Commonwealth.

As one third-party observer put it:

After so much controversy regarding the taking down of trees and beginning of serious renovations for Monroe Park, I guess they thought they should make lemonade out of lemons and invite hobbyists and re-enactors to make use of the current state of the park by demonstrating the World War One innovation of trench warfare. They want to increase and diversify uses of the park going forward and in their ongoing conversations with the City, this was suggested as an educational opportunity for Richmond.

A local design firm has been engaged to set up barbwire and pillbox forts around perimeters, but they are still waiting for decisions on the use of replica tanks and inert mustard gas.

There will be some corporately-sponsored V.I.P. tents set up and rented during the event, which should help make Monroe Park a profit center and encourage the privatization of other public City parks.

The announcement of the reenactment event has already brought different responses. A gaggle of Oregon Hill residents have vowed to bring an old-style protest along Main Street, while some elderly Prestwould Condominium residents, a few of whom still have personal recollections of WWI, look forward to their bird’s eye view of the spectacle. ‘White helmets’ are organizing to protect nearby homeless.

Interestingly enough, the City’s Urban Design Committee is scheduled to meet this same Thursday, and while trench warfare is not on the agenda, some new Monroe Park plans are.

OHNA Resolution After Traffic Study: No More Stop Signs

Although several options for new stop signs and traffic measures were discussed at this past Tuesday’s Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting, attendees voted to go in a very novel direction- taking out all of existing stops signs in the neighborhood for a trial period.

An OHNA officer described what happened:

I think we reached a point after so much deliberation, that some got frustrated and were ready to table the whole topic for the rest of the meeting, but then one of the new residents who was there started talking about when he previously lived in a small village in Maine that had no traffic regulation. That’s when a new motion was made to take out all stop signs for the rest of the year, and, surprisingly, people got fired up and we passed it.

One longtime resident said she voted for motion because she thinks it is one of the first steps towards outlawing most motor vehicle traffic in Oregon Hill altogether.

While calling it very unorthodox, City traffic engineers were not totally unreceptive to the group decision. They consider it a cheaper and simpler option than a traffic circle, which is harder to finance now that federal traffic grants have been depleted. They said no stop signs would hopefully, eventually force drivers to be more careful in their approaches to intersections.

Since it is likely that City Council will have to ultimately weigh in on this plan, there is no timetable as of yet for when it could possibly be enacted. In the meantime, some neighbors have already suggested that everyone should act like there are no stop signs and drive more cautiously anyway, given some of the speeding and bicyclist activity they have seen on neighborhood streets.

Neighborhood Sex Survey

A local university graduate student is conducting a survey of Oregon Hill residents’ sexual activities for research purposes.

To take part in this very short survey, please click here.

The completed surveys are mostly anonymous and confidential until your internet provider decides to sell your personal information.

According to the student, intermediate results will be presented and discussed at this month’s Oregon Hill Neighborhood Association meeting.

Residents Recognized For Wildlife Care

A Laurel Street neighbor has decided to build on her physical therapy career by researching and advancing opossum (as in the animals, not the local restaurant) massage. The woman claims to be inspired after her pet dog injured a opossum in her backyard. She declined to be identified by name or photo for this post, but was willing to elaborate on the topic.

I am not making a blanket recommendation for hands-on work with opossums and other forms of wildlife, as that could be harmful for all parties involved, but for very special cases, I am interested in seeing if massage can make a difference in regard to rehabilitating opossums who have suffered traumatic back injuries.

She shared this video of opossum massage technique by renown expert ME Pearl:

Pine Street resident and animal welfare advocate Todd Woodson, another opossum enthusiast, strongly reiterated that no one should try to make physical contact with opossums and other wildlife, but was intrigued by his neighbor’s efforts.

God bless her for her compassion for these beautiful animals, I hope she can make safe progress with her study.

VCU ICA Building Updates -“Soft Opening For Weekend Postponed”

VCU officials held a small press conference yesterday to give local media a few updates on their new Institute for Contemporary Art building, which is very close to finishing construction.

While work has been going at a furious pace, a planned “soft opening” and “media walk through” for this weekend was sadly postponed at the last moment.
“The building’s exterior and interior are almost done, but there is still a lot of dangerous equipment and scaffolding around, and therefore still not safe for visitation”, stated one of the smiling, new ICA directors, “We are really looking forward to showing people what we are so excited about, but we need to wait a just little bit longer.” Previews of the ICA have already been featured quite a bit in various area publications.

While the building and site remain strictly off-limits for now, students and interested members of the public can attempt to reserve tickets for some of the future opening events. A student art exhibit on ‘The Potholes of RVA’ as well as a new student documentary about car crashes will be available for viewing. For VIP visitors and donors, there will be a special basement tour and outdoor movie, Artplace (the highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s Workplace).

When asked about the current fundraising situation for the Institute, officials would only state that there is a ‘spring break hiatus’ right now for the campaign as fundraisers tour basketball facilities at the University of Hawaii. When pressed about the promised green building details of the construction, a spokesperson said that while the ICA will not be ‘Platinum LEED’ as initially promised, it should be able to secure ‘Lead LEED’ status without problems, as long as a certain amount of the natural granite from the site can be recycled for planned, new basketball facilities.