New sparkplug for Colonial Williamsburg. Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, unsuccessful candidate for president and Virginia resident since 2011, has joined the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation Board of Trustees as chairwoman. It is gratifying to see Fiorina, a truly dynamic individual, apply her talents to a Virginia enterprise. Colonial Williamsburg has suffered a long-term decline as American interest in visiting historical sites has ebbed. Like all tourism attractions, the preserved colonial town also has been hobbled by mandated and self-imposed travel restrictions during the COVID-19 epidemic.
Speaking of conserving history… The American Battlefield Trust has issued a report describing how developing massive solar farms can be made compatible with the preservation of rural historical resources. “Conflict tends to arise when developers disregard the historic and cultural landscapes on or near potential solar sites,” states the report, “Siting Solar in Virginia: Protecting Virginia’s Historic Landscape While Meeting the State’s Clean Energy Goals.” The report advises: (1) early planning and consultation can help avoid harm to historic resources; (2) localities should establish clear rules and guidelines; (3) developers should consider locating solar facilities on greyfield or brownfield land, or co-locating with existing uses such as rooftops and parking lots; (4) developers should proactively engage with the State Historic Preservation Office.
Speaking of solar production… Dominion Energy has scrapped its plans to build a $200 million gas-fired peaking plant at the Southern Virginia Megasite in Pittsylvania County. Reports the Chatham Star-Tribune: The company said it no longer believes it is possible to build the units planned in Pittsvylania County “despite the economic and reliability benefits for our customers.” Peaker plants offset fluctuations in supply and demand to maintain a stable electric grid, a concern that will become all the more pressing as Virginia moves to increased solar production. “We plan to conduct a further reliability study to determine how best to move forward to maintain the around-the-clock service our customers need.”
Speaking of round-the-clock service…. Washingtonians aren’t getting it with their Metro system. As the COVID-19 epidemic decimated ridership and fare revenues, Metro is suffering a financial meltdown. On Monday Paull Wiedefeld, General Manager of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that roughly 1,400 employees would be laid off this fiscal year to address a projected $200 million shortfall. The cutbacks mean longer waits between trains, service ending at 9 p.m., closure of 19 metro stations, and a 45% reduction in bus service, says the Washington Post. Roads and highways are looking pretty good these days. They may be overloaded in the Washington area, but at least they’re open!
Finally, apropos of nothing…. Before the University of Virginia’s season-opening basketball game Tuesday, several Cavalier players kneeled during the national anthem. In previous seasons, Virginia players protesting social injustice bowed their heads. Sports blogger Jerry Ratcliffe writes that teammates respect one another’s decisions to kneel or stand for the anthem. Said senior center Jay Huff, who stood: “The main thing that the team understands is that we all support each other. We all support the guys who kneel. Me, personally, I didn’t choose to [kneel]. I wanted to stand, but I feel guys have every right to kneel and the message they want to get across is that we all support protesting against injustice.