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Part 2 

Big Smooch

A musical salute for Ellwood Thompson's Here's to our own little natural foods market in Carytown, where pierced pseudo-health mavens unflinchingly point out the herbs that can subjugate your cellulite, multiply your manhood and, of course, entirely evacuate your wallet. We salute you, oh hippest of wee food boutiques, with this most sincere musical Valentine: Oh beautiful for spacious aisles,
For whole and healthy grains
For packaged foods with lofty goals, for sulfite-free champagnes
Oh Ellwood T's, oh Ellwood T's
we have just one lament
It takes such wealth for blooming health
that who can pay the rent?
P.S.: About those lunch-time salads ... you know, the ones with the $4 and $5 price tags. Could you maybe throw in the 20-cent dressings for free? Crestview's Norman Dailey for proving a man's home is his castle They huffed and they puffed but they couldn't blow his house down. Since early May when word spread like wildfire that local developer Gumenick Properties would tear down 233 homes to construct 236 new — and more expensive — ones in the low-income Crestview neighborhood of Henrico County, many residents protested. But after much negotiation, the Crestview families, most of whom rent their homes and apartments, agreed reluctantly to uproot their lives and settle elsewhere. But not Norman Dailey. He refused to budge. Peacefully. For more than 30 years, his home has been his haven. Now retired, Dailey free-lances as a burner service repairman and kiln builder for local ceramists. Kudos to Dailey for standing his ground. Christopher Maxwell for being the only one who cares about a tiny radio signal[image-1]Photo by Chad HuntMaxwell Ever the dogged freedom fighter for low-power Richmond radio, Christopher Maxwell proves he's got the wind, if not yet the airwaves, to force the Federal Communications Commission to listen to his pinings and whinings for alternative programming. What's more, if the federal agency agrees with Maxwell and his homegrown list of Radio Free Richmond groupies, our fair city soon may have low-power stations ready for the taking. We hear ya, Chris, what's more, we agree. Richmond radio is long overdue for a potent shot in the arm — preferably of Ravi Shankar, Ani Di Franco and the Howard Sterns of the world. We're all for variety. Problem is, would it stop there? Or would our radio dials fixate, inexplicably, on the likes of Andy Kaufman wannabes reading all 182 pages of "The Great Gatsby"? We'll reserve our judgment, hoping not to become victims of what Nick Carraway called "veteran bores." Ralph Sampson and the Richmond Rhythm for proving you don't have to score much to have game Swish, dribble, dribble, swish. That's the sound of our free-throw kiss to Ralph Sampson and the Richmond Rhythm for bringing professional basketball to a Coliseum near you. The underdog of the International Basketball League netted more staying power than points in its inaugural year. Still, remarkably, when the team lost its coach, Ralphie baby stepped in offering his Cavalier-bred skills and NBA cachet as both manager and coach. Here, the name of the game isn't titles: It's teamwork. Manny Mendez for fighting for his right to paella Manny Mendez fought City Hall and won his right to a special use permit, allowing his Fan restaurant, Kuba Kuba, to stay open late, and keeping concerned neighbors up all night with the fear of limited parking. And with our mouths full of paella, we'll even pucker up for the lone Fan resident who stood up in opposition and made her voice heard above those of the hordes of Kuba Kuba supporters and the City Council? What guts! What chutzpah! Pass the Sriracha! The Richmond Canal Walk for playing hard-to-get We're optimists, holding out for that first kiss that could change everything. So far, Richmond's relationship with its newly dapper, high-dollar Canal Walk has just been flirting. The attraction has been largely physical: We adore the clean, neatly lined sidewalks, old-fashioned street lamps, and thoughtful landscaping. But we won't wait forever. Could it be our Canal Walk has a commitment problem? Win our hearts with more than promises — and a mural. Prove your romance is genuine and commit to us with a ring of restaurants, shops, vendors and outdoor festivals. Remember San Antonio? Entice us to enjoy the James and walk the walk without questioning why.[image-2]Photo by Stephen SalpukasManny Mendez, the soft-spoken owner of Kuba Kuba, proved you can fight City Hall when you've got common sense — and community support — on your side. Channel 8 for the New Year's Party that never was Talk about the mistake of the millennium. When WRIC-TV Channel 8 decided not to broadcast ABC's 'round-the-clock, 'round-the-world coverage of the new year, it set a new standard for boneheaded moves. Instead of Peter Jennings and Eiffel Tower, we got reruns of "Family Feud" and a "Batman" movie. Sure, the top brass had its pat little explanation ready for the infuriated masses, but it was a bad call, plain and simple. So, sorry, Channel 8, there's no midnight kiss for you. You've gotta show up to the party first. Stella's for its slow but savory soups There's no cure for the common cold, not yet. Until then, there is soup from Stella's: soothing, sunny avgolemono, hearty Brunswick stew, creamy roasted pepper, lentil and more. Drop in to this Fan eatery at lunch or dinner, you'll see more tables than not with a cup or bowl of something warm and good. As with all things classic, there is no cookie-cutter approach to the soups' creation, no recipe. There is Stella Dikos, there are fresh ingredients, and there are high standards — no less than perfection, according to her daughter, Katrina Giavos. And that insistence on perfection is the only fly in our soup. We wish it didn't take so agonizingly long for the soup to arrive. Giavos explains the delay: Rather than let the soups simmer away all day to indistinction, Stella gently warms each serving in a small sauté pan before serving. "With everything she does, that's how she does it. She's always been a perfectionist," says Giavos. In that case, we'll wait. Richmond Times-Dispatch columnists for not knowing and knowing when the gig is up[image-3]Photo by Chad HuntWe'd love to smooch Richmond's Canal Walk, but we think it's resisting our advances. Let us bestow a dry, chaste, passionless kiss of the type you might give your brother on the rosy cheek of Richmond Times-Dispatch columnist Jann Malone. Don't get us wrong. It's not that we don't like bird watching, baseball, book clubs, grocery shopping, low-fat meals and timesaving strategies. It's just that we've reached the saturation point on all of these topics thanks to the thrice-weekly columns penned by the mug-toting columnist. Longtime Malone readers have come to rely on her wry observations as touchstones on the calendar. Unseasonably warm winter weather is sure to elicit a warning from Malone not to get "too cocky about spring." When Malone and her companion throw caution to the wind and partake of cholesterol-laden hot dogs it can only mean one thing: spring training. Too hot outside to fire up the oven? Count on Malone to provide you with a column offering dinner suggestions. (Tomato sandwiches, anyone?) Looking for some fun on a Thursday evening? Join Malone and her companion for tag-team grocery shopping at Ukrop's. How do we know these mundane details of Malone's life? Because she has written entire columns on these subjects time and time again. We know it must be difficult to come up with three compelling column topics every week. But we keep reading, hoping that Malone will let her freak flag fly and really give us something to read about. On the other hand, not all Times-Dispatch columnists are unable or unwilling to live a little — even on the edge, sometimes. This year we lay a hand-pumping, baby-kissing politician's smooch on retiring columnist (but NOT-retiring staff writer) Steve Clark, whose exploits as "Sven Clarkson" in a fictitious bid for the Senate from North Dakota surely confused as many readers as it tickled. Some of us, too, appreciated the editor's notes explaining what it was all about: a whimsical odyssey satirizing Hillary "I got my carpet bag wholesale" Clinton's quest for the Senate from New York. Maybe it wasn't quite Dave Barry meets Hunter S. Thompson meets The Family Circus, but for one brief, shining moment, a few ounces of goofy poetry escaped the paper's drab editocracy and found its way into print. Coach John Beilein for being old-school Sometimes you can't let it slide. Sacrifices are made when rules are rules. That's why we smooch University of Richmond head basketball coach John Beilein for sticking to his guns — and, more important, sticking to the program. Whether or not sophomore slump is to blame, when friends and Spider teammates Charles Stephens, the 1999 Colonial Athletic Association's rookie of the year, and Marques Cunningham failed to show up for the first two basketball practices following Christmas break, Beilein suspended the duo from the team. The boot may have cost Beilein and the Spiders a few close games. But the lost points are a small price to pay for the courage not to cave in to advancing egos. One player — or two — does not a team make. What wins here is the golden rule, pure and simple — and that's got game. Daniel & Company Contractors for the Governor's Mansion renovation Bob Vila and company blew into town last fall for daily trips to Starbucks and a bit of java-fueled hot air for the construction crew at the Governor's Mansion. Workers there smirked when Vila needed quiet on the set to shoot his television series; they put down hammers and rolled their eyeballs just out of view of the video cameras. But, wisecracks about ego and hair gel aside, they knew this was the prestige job of the century, fixing up an important old house that had fallen out of function several generations ago. Squeaky floors, an inept kitchen, zero handicapped access, crumbling plaster and pitiful wiring called for a very public rescue, and made for great television and tourist exposure. [image-4]Photo by Chad HuntDude, Richmond actually looks cool from this angle thanks to the ESPN and the X-Trials.It's not Vila, though, but Daniel & Company Contractors who get the smooch for this overhaul, bringing in the job on deadline and making a pile of bonus bucks in the process. Some fine old trees met their demise, and taxpayers picked up a hefty rental tab while the First Family packed off to a West End mansion, but the Gilmores reportedly love their newly done digs and stood to shake hands with thousands of citizens during a New Year's Day open house that showed off the restoration in all its glory. Vila had long since left town to breathe on crews from other places and plug more ordinary projects. The X Trials, for spinning Richmond's image 180 degress and making it look cool We have to plant a big thank-you smooch on Richmond Sports Backers and ESPN for bringing the X Trials to Richmond way back in May. Sunny days and large crowds (estimated by Sports Backers at 85,000) assured this mini version of the big event a first-place trophy and remembrance in our record books. Now we learn from Sports Backers spokeswoman Alison Lages that they're close to finding out if they can bring the real deal, the X Games, to River City in 2001. Lages says ESPN officials chose Richmond for the X Trials because they thought the Tredegar Iron Works location would look good on television. Can you believe it? The X Games might be coming and we look good on TV. Let's keep our fingers crossed that no one bails. Wyndham for fighting for the right to homogeneity There's scarcely a more All-American concept than the gated community. What were our forebears fighting for, if not the right to pre-screen their neighbors? To choose friends based on earning potential? To ensure that the girl next door will be produced by parents in the same income bracket as one's self? In the spirit of patriotism, then, we salute the pioneering community of Wyndham, where white fences keep the streets safe and the grass green, and nosy neighbors make certain that nobody raises the American flag up the expressly un-approved flagpole. [image-5]Photo by Stephen SalpukasWhite. To all those who have donated land to James River Park and to the park's intrepid manager himself for safeguarding Richmond's most precious resource "Man, am I happy." That's what Park Manager Ralph White has to say about the growth of the James River Park over the past year or so, thanks to the following land donations: 20 acres at Bosher Dam, from CSX and the city of Richmond
5 acres at the east end of the park, from the Little Oil Company
4 acres under the Powhite Parkway, from Powhite (thanks to construction of a new sewer line)
2 acres at Williams Dam, from John Pearsall
a small island near the Lee Bridge, roughly 1/2 acre in size, received as a gift That's a total of 41* acres, and White is hopeful that the growth trend will continue. "Not bad for a year," he says. We couldn't agree more. And along with the shower of kisses we send to these generous contributors, our biggest smooch goes to White for his faithful stewardship of the river. by Kathy Davis, Janet Giampietro, Jessica Ronky Haddad, D.L. Hintz, Beth Laws, Wayne Melton, Rob Morano, Deveron Timberlake, Holly Timberline and Brandon Walters Jump to Part 1, 2,
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