Good Morning, RVA: Grocery stores, sad faces, more mowing, and the Black Rod

Clouds, sprinkles, and general malaise are today’s forecast.

Photo by: The Library of Virginia

Good morning, RVA! It’s 53 °F now, temperatures will stay in the mid 60s, and most of today is looking pretty cloudy. Stick around though, there may be a small chance to see the sun right before it goes to sleep for the night.

Water cooler

The announcement of a grocery store potentially coming to the East End is a Big Deal, and such a store would be an oasis to much of that part of town’s food desert. This is just a rezoning application, so we’ve got a while (and many meetings and discussions) before you can head over to Nine Mile Road and 25th and pick up some produce. But it’s a start!

Carol Hazard at the RTD has an update on the update to the Westhampton Theatre site, which makes me sigh with sadness. The nearby community expressed concerns over the height of the planned development, so now it’s shorter. But, unfortunately, this quote: “Initially, preserving the marquee and facade was a principal goal of our design, but after listening to residents, it was clear that they were concerned primarily with the height and parking.” Double sadness sigh.

Since mowing is, like, the thing to talk about at the moment, Susan Howson called down to the City to see how neighborhood mowing brigades would work. Is that even something folks that are tired of looking at tall-grass medians can do? Turns out it is! However, there are a couple of things you need to keep in mind before you charge off and mow all the things, so please try to bridle your enthusiasm and be respectful of the City’s process. 2016: Everyone Pitches In™!

Booze, booze, booze, booze.

“Seated on the dais of City Council, Charles Samuels isn’t boisterous.” A profile from Style Weekly of outgoing councilman Charles Samuels, a voice on Council that I’ll definitely miss.

Yeah! Let’s get some different maps for election night! That red-state-blue-state map is tired.

Scroll down to the bottom of today’s daily briefing on the New York Times to read about a weird British Royal tradition involving the “Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod.”


  • The Squirrels’ losing streak has now been turned up to 11. The series with Trenton continues today at 10:30 AM.
  • Kickers take on the Aromas Café FC tonight at 7:00 PM as part of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (that’s when soccer teams from all different levels of play compete in one massive tournament). You can get your tickets online.
  • Nats fell to the Mets, 0-2, and will try again tonight at 7:10 PM.

This morning’s longread

How to Make Rich, Flavorful Caramel Without Melting Sugar

I love how sciencey and delicous this article is! I know what I doing in my kitchen this weekend.

Realizing that caramel contained more permutations of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen than their cutesy naming scheme could accommodate, scientists gave up on trying to define it. They even gave up on nailing down a definitive melting point for sucrose. Unlike ice, or even coconut oil, sugar refused to liquefy at a single, consistent, scientifically reproducible temperature. The point of caramelization proved even trickier to isolate, in some experiments occurring at a mere 340°F and in others holding out past 360°F.

If you think that’s confusing, you’re not alone. Scientists have a better grasp of quantum mechanics than of caramel, which is still poorly understood. But in 2011, a team of researchers finally established that caramelization is a product of thermal decomposition, not melting (you can read the paper here). Not only that, they determined that it’s technologically impossible to document the melting of sucrose independent of caramelization.

This morning’s Instagram

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Ross Catrow

Founder and publisher of RVANews.

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