Water Matters II

Following up on water matters

Times Dispatch picks up on the PILOT issue with an editorial that concludes:

City Councilman Parker Agelasto has proposed phasing out the PILOT charge over 10 years. That should give City Hall more than enough time to find a way to make up the difference. Let’s hope the substitute is less regressive and more rational.

While Style has published a ‘back page’ by Laurel Street neighbor Charles Poole on the Larus Park issue (It also touches on the PILOT):

This project has been under wraps since 2012 when it was conceived during Mayor Dwight Jones’ administration. I can understand how Jones might want to shower his parishioners in Chesterfield with low water rates, but why would Mayor Levar Stoney be the patron of this flawed ordinance? Stoney has a fortuitous opportunity to make good on his pledge to work for the people of Richmond. We can only hope that he will honor that pledge.

Water Matters

Councilperson Parker Agelasto is rightfully following up on citizens’ concerns about water utility billing. The Finance & Economic Development Standing Committee is meeting Thursday, July 20, 2017 at 5pm in the Council Chamber.

On the agenda, this paper:

RES. 2017-R049 To request that the Chief Administrative Officer cause the Department of Public Utilities to prepare and submit to the Council a plan to phase out Payments in Lieu of Taxes from the Department of Public Utilities over a ten year period.

Click here, here, here, here, here, and here for some background.

On anther matter, a proposed County of Chesterfield water facility in a Richmond City park, Councilperson Kristen N. Larsen supplied this update:

Update on Larus Park/Water tank issue: At my last district meeting on 6/29 I gave an update on this forthcoming legislation originally scheduled for the City Council Land Use meeting on 7/18. Because of ongoing discussions with the city administration on community concerns and the exploration of options, this legislation is being continued until the 9/19 Land Use meeting. I am still committed to holding another community meeting regarding this issue prior to it being considered by city council and will get back to the community with that information once I have updated information. Thank you to everyone who has contacted me regarding this issue.

Citizens may want to join the FaceBook group “Protect Larus Park! and all of the other city parks, for that matter” to keep abreast on this issue.

Chesterfield County’s Water

Why is the Oregon Hill community news site posting about Chesterfield County’s water?

You probably still need to read this week’s Richmond Free Press. As with last week’s article on Monroe Park, reporter Jeremy Lazarus is supplying some valuable insight to how this area (dys)functions. For some mysterious reason, the following front-page article does not appear on the newspaper’s website, but here are photos of the printed version:

Please take the the time to read the second page, which includes hard-hitting quotes from former Sierra Club leader Dr. Charles Price on this attempted usurping of a public park as well as from Laurel Street neighbor Charles Pool on the City’s regressive water utility fees.

Although the Richmond Free Press article does not mention it, some neighbors are also speculating about how Chesterfield County might resell their ‘bargain’ on City water to Niagra Bottling LLC. Is City of Richmond not only forced to provide Chesterfield Co. water at a fifth the cost that Richmond customers must pay, but also subsidizing cheap water for the Niagara Bottling LLC? Are we really going to be damaging a Richmond city park to build a water facility so that Niagara Bottling Company can have cheap water?!

While Oregon Hill is not in Chesterfield County, our neighbors continue to keep an eye on local water issues and hope more media like the Richmond Free Press does the same.

Interview With Beth Marschak, Richmond Earth Day Founder

Style magazine has a nice interview with Beth Marschak, one of the founders of the Richmond Earth Day celebration (and a former Oregon Hill resident).

Here’s an excerpt:

Beth Marschak, now an HIV prevention specialist, was 20 when she helped organize the city’s inaugural Earth Day at Monroe Park in 1971.

In a nod to Saturday’s yearly acknowledgement of the planet, Style spoke with Marschak about some of the progress made — and to worry about the future.

Style: Why did you want to bring Earth Day to Richmond?

Marschak: I was in a student group at Westhampton-University of Richmond called S.H.A.M.E – Studying and Halting the Assault on Man and Environment. That was back when people liked names like that.

Most of the people in our group were science majors. I was a chemistry major at that time. People had a fairly sophisticated view of the problems affecting the environment and ecology from a scientific standpoint.

And, of course, if you looked at the James River back then, it was terrible. Sewage was going directly into the river. You would not want to get into it. Now people tube down it and swim in it and fish. You could not do that then. You wouldn’t put a toe in it.

So it was really one of those things where, right here in this area, you could see some major impacts from not having policies protecting clean water, clean air.

She also recently wrote a letter to the Planning Commission, asking that they spare remaining mature trees in Monroe Park. However the Planning Commission voted in favor of removing the trees.

Dominion’s Coal-Ash Ponds Leaking Into River; Go Solar!

There are reports that the coal ash ponds are causing more pollution in the James River. From Times Dispatch article:

“We can see things bubbling up, essentially, and our position is this is leaking from the coal ash. We’ve tested the water and sediment here. We found arsenic at incredibly high levels, 282 parts per million right here, which is higher than many Superfund sites that have really bad pollution problems,” he said.

Several rounds of tests in the past year seem to show leaking from Dominion ash ponds, including prior work by the James River Association and separate sampling by a Duke University-led team. The Duke team found unpermitted leaking from coal ash facilities in five states, including at Dominion’s Chesterfield and Bremo Bluff power stations.

Chesterfield officials don’t seem to care and continue to allow Dominion to burn coal.

With Dominion’s poison in mind, it’s more important than ever that area residents push for more renewable energy.

Tomorrow night, VaSun.org is hosting a Greater Richmond Solar Co-op Information Session at the Glen Allen Library.

From their webpage:

Community members across Richmond have formed a solar co-op! From Ruther Glen in the north to Petersburg in the south, Powhatan in the west to New Kent in the east, the Greater Richmond Solar Co-op welcomes homeowners from across the region. Greater Richmond Solar Co-op members can save up to 20% off the cost of going solar and have the support of fellow co-op members and VA SUN throughout the process.

Early Bird Registration for Shiver in the River Ends Today

RichmondOutside.com has post that reminds everyone that the ‘early bird’ registration for the Shiver In The River (happens end of January) ends today.

What are you missing out on by not registering now for Richmond’s most epic polar plunge? How about the chance to win an overnight stay at the Hilton in downtown Richmond on either Friday or Saturday of Shiver weekend (January 28, 2017), a $50 gift card at Hilton’s new 1885 Cafe & Market, and a $50 gift card to Penny Lane Pub. Pretty sweet swag, I’d say.

In other news, KVB’s Mike Baum tells me the 5K that precedes the Shiver will incorporate the T. Tyler Potterfield Memorial Bridge (a.k.a. the T-Pot Bridge), which Brown’s Island and Manchester. The exact route hasn’t been mapped yet, he said, but it should be the first race in Richmond to include the gleaming new pedestrian bridge (which opens this Friday night at 6 p.m.).

Click here for more on Shiver in the River and to sneak in under the wire for early bird registration.

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