Supermarkets can apparently unite America in the most bitter election season ever. | Courtesy: Charlottesville Newsplex
I may not live in Charlottesville anymore, but I still closely follow the local news, events and issues. The small Virginia college town is a unique media market, one that spans many political ideologies, socioeconomic classes, religions and creeds. Charlottesville itself is a liberal urban oasis, surrounded by the sprawling rural and conservative suburbs.
Therefore, Charlottesville has also not been immune to the divisive rhetoric of the 2016 election. The 5th District Congressional seat has been a hard-fought and expensive race. That’s aside from city council or county supervisor races and state politics.
But amid the chaos of bickering and heated discussions, I noticed something Sunday that has united the diverse Central Virginia community, all politics aside.
Aug. 23, 2011. Five years ago, I was eating a snack in my car in the parking lot of the Charlottesville Harris Teeter when I felt a small rumble. I looked at the older woman in the parking spot across from me, and she appeared to have no reaction.
I looked across the street and saw the window panels on a building shake.
Did I just feel an earthquake? Nah. It’s Central Virginia. Psh.
I opened up Twitter and saw lots of locals questioning what just happened. And I shared my thoughts.
Then I got a text from a friend.
“Are you alive?”
That followed a text from my brother.
“Are you near that earthquake?”
Apparently, yes. Yes I was.
Alright, it’s official. I’m leaving Charlottesville.
I’ve been in Central Virginia for four-and-a-half years. In that time, I’ve done as much as I could in the area while still not doing enough. From tubing on the James to Fridays after Five to skiing at Wintergreen, it’s difficult to be bored in the Piedmont.
So here is my list of things I’ll miss so much about this region that New York just won’t be able to offer.
Seconds before the start of the Charlottesville Women's Four Miler.
Every step counts.
Today, I had the privilege of covering the Charlottesville Women’s Four Miler. It’s an annual race in Albemarle County, where at least 3,500 women participate. No men allowed (except on the sidelines).
The amount of spirit and encouragement that the crowd exuded today was immeasurable. Even though it’s labeled a “race,” the women could run, jog or trot the length of the four-mile trek.
I spoke to a number of people at the event randomly. Two of the five people I chose were breast cancer survivors. Sure, my odds of finding more survivors at an event like this are increased, but it showed how so many people are directly affected by cancer. And the spirits of everyone I met couldn’t be higher.
Coworkers have told me what a great event the Four Miler is, and they were absolutely correct. It’s a great day for the community to come together. As one survivor told me, she doesn’t want to cure breast cancer. She wants to finish it.
The $200,000+ raised so far only makes that more possible.
OK, so it’s about 257 miles from Philadelphia to Charlottesville, Va. But the journey still begins with a single step.
Posts have been sporadic (or nonexistent) as of late thanks to my move to Virginia to work at CBS 19 and the Charlottesville Newsplex. Tomorrow, I’ll begin at the station as a Web producer and reporter.
Charlottesville is an interesting place, from my brief experiences so far. It’s a small, friendly city known for its Downtown Mall, Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello and the University of Virginia.
My station is also pretty unique. The Newsplex is a group of network affiliates housed in one complex — CBS 19 (the flagship, WCAV), ABC 16 (WVAW) and FOX 27 (WAHU). The station is just more than five years old, and it’s the only country to have that combination of affiliates under one roof.
And that’s that. The plan is to try this out for a while and to determine what I’d like to do with my life. I’ll update every once and a while with behind-the-scenes information from Charlottesville.
For now, that’s the story. We’ll see how it finishes soon.