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Becky Norton Dunlop is helping staff a Bush administration …

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Dunlop Helping Staff a Bush AdministrationChristian Nudist Group Sings Wilson's Praises Group: Keep Sites Green ForeverCouple Is Building CCV Cliffhanger Dunlop Helping Staff a Bush Administration Some people think that if George W. Bush wins the presidency by the skin of his teeth, it would inspire him to lean to the middle of the political spectrum. The former Richmonder who's helping pick candidates for up to 6,000 jobs in a Bush administration scoffs at that idea. "He should have an administration of people who agree with him," says Becky Norton Dunlop, a fiery conservative who was Virginia's secretary of natural resources under Gov. George Allen. A Bush administration doesn't need to be "parliamentary" by including all points of view, Dunlop adds: "You don't need to bring people into the administration just to show you're open-minded." Dunlop currently works at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank that hews close to the Ronald Reagan, hard-line Republican philosophy: Government is bad, capitalism should be unshackled, taxes are a burden, and the environment is there for people to use. Bush's staff has asked the Heritage Foundation to help staff a Bush administration. So Dunlop is spearheading the foundation's project to collect résumés and suggest candidates who are sufficiently conservative to take jobs in a Bush administration. She's looking to fill presidential appointments ranging from Cabinet secretaries to deputy assistant secretaries, in agencies such as the Federal Trade Commission and the Consumer Product Safety Commission. With so many influential jobs to fill, Dunlop says, conservatives are turning to the Heritage Foundation to help them land a position in which they can serve their country and their cause. "The word is out," she says. "We're talking to people from across the country. People are calling from all over." Dunlop comes to the work honestly: She spent three years in the Reagan administration's personnel office. But her devotion to unabashed conservatism has brought her few friends among Democrats and moderate Republicans. Soon after the election of George Bush, a coalition of Democrats and Republicans forced her to resign as assistant secretary for fish, wildlife and parks. She was trying to politicize the civil service, they said. After her dismissal, Dunlop stayed out of public service for a few years, then went to work for George Allen, another genial, conservative Republican. Her years as Virginia's environmental steward appalled environmentalists. Under her tenure, the Department of Environmental Quality sharply scaled back its attempts to curtail industry. She left her job when Jim Gilmore was elected, took six months off and then joined the Heritage Foundation. Now she has a chance to get high-profile jobs for some of her former comrades in Allen's administration, she says. She cites former state Secretary of Transportation Robert Martinez and ex-Secretary of Health and Human Resources (and Heritage Foundation co-worker) Kay Coles James as prime candidates. "It's an exciting time," she says. "I'm a big promoter of some of my former colleagues. Everybody knows that." — Greg Weatherford Christian Nudist Group Sings Wilson's Praises It looks like Richmond musician Page Wilson has won over a group of Christian nudists. The silly ditty "Swim Nekkid" from Wilson's latest album, "This Bridge of Love," has been downloaded so many times from the MP3.com Web site that Wilson might even see some royalties soon. But what has Wilson more tickled than the song's success is the identity of the song's biggest fans. It seems the song is one of the latest additions to a radio Web site called "Cheef's Nude & Naked, Bare & Buff Tunes Radio." The site, aimed at Christian nudists and naturists, gives Wilson's song a thumbs-up. It describes "Swim Nekkid" as "a fun tune about losing everyday stresses when you skinny dip." The song was written in the early '80s, Wilson says, and was inspired on Ocracoke Island. "It once was a pretty active nekkid beach," says Wilson. This gives Wilson a chance to clearly differentiate between "nekkid" and "naked": "Naked is to be without clothes. Nekkid is to be without clothes and up to something," Wilson says with a laugh. Additionally, Wilson says, the song is an ode to the ocean and why people should keep it clean. "Things that swim in the ocean are nekkid, and people who get upset [over the song] should just get over it," he says. Wilson says he went from relative obscurity to No. 15 on the MP3 bluegrass page thanks largely to downloads from Cheef's listeners. Wilson doesn't know just how many that is, but he's thankful for every one. He says he's had fun checking the Web site to see how much money he stands to make. The site offers what it calls "payback for playback" to reward MP3.com artists with cash based on visitor listens and downloads. So far, Wilson has racked up $159.37. "I haven't gotten a check yet," Wilson says. "It's like a snowball rolling down a hill. The more it rolls, the bigger it gets. $159.37 seems like a nice little chunk of money." Wilson says he'll keep checking the site to see how he fares. "I've been making $8 a day and it's all spinning out of a radio station for Christian nudists," Wilson says. "And that's hilarious." Brandon Walters Group: Keep Sites Green Forever n what it calls an anti-sprawl campaign, a group of environmental activists is ask ing Richmond City Council to guarantee it will keep four tracts of city-owned land undeveloped forever. City officials think that's overkill. The four sites in question are: Bandy Field Park, on Three Chopt Road near the University of Richmond; Crooked Branch Ravine, near George Wythe High School in the South Side; the 100-acre Larus Tract, at the northwest corner of Stony Point and Huguenot roads; and the 400-acre James River Park. Banding together into something called the "ConservAlliance," several civic associations that support the parks worry that the rules protecting the land don't protect it enough. "My children grew up in these woods," says Monica S. Rumsey, a member of ConservAlliance who has lived near Crooked Branch Ravine for years. She calls the site "a place of peace and quiet." To keep the city-owned land as is, ConservAlliance has proposed using conservation easements, a designation that would attach a sort of permanent rider to the land to prevent development. A private foundation would act as the land's trustee. In May, City Council asked the city attorney to come up with an ordinance that would protect the land using such conservation easements. But after studying the issue, the city parks department and some other city agencies shot down the idea. The departments said the easements would be too restrictive and that the cost to create them would be too high. They also advised City Council that the current provisions protecting the parks were sufficient. "Frankly, they felt like conservation easements were a bad idea," says Richmond Mayor Timothy M. Kaine. "They have concern about placing control of these assets in a hand other than the city." That's exactly the point, Rumsey says: If the city has control, it may be tempted to develop the land in the future. "Their genuine concern is that they can't trust the city," Kaine says. "And I disagree with them." So, Kaine says, City Council probably will move forward with other plans. Those include making Crooked Branch and the Larus Tract official city parks, prohibiting city parks from being included on the city's surplus-property list and adopting rules to restrict leasing the four sites for development. For ConservAlliance, that's not good enough. "Once a natural area has been developed, you can't undevelop it," Rumsey says. "It's gone forever." — Jason Roop Couple Is Building CCV Cliffhanger At rush hour, the high-mortgage section of River Road just might be the most-traveled two-lane thoroughfare in Richmond. So the last thing it needs is a new reason for rubbernecking. Too late. Tom and Margaret Teal are making sure of that by building the most talked-about house since Dover Hall: a 4,500-square-foot English-style "cottage" clinging precipitously to a cliff at 5902 River Road. Perched high above the second green at the Country Club of Virginia, the house is by all accounts a feat of design and construction, and it's just a backhoe's width from the roadway. Work crews jam onto the site each day to raise insulated concrete panels and ice block to control noise during the inevitable rush-hour onslaughts. Since selling his building firm, Teal says, "I wanted to stay busy, and it's been an uphill battle [to do that] from day one." The couple put the lot under contract a year and a half before clearing legal and logistical hurdles they needed to build on it. Now, they're dealing with a set of both cooperative and curious neighbors who want to know why anyone would build a house in such an unlikely spot. Teal says the building is a way to add value to the lot and to give him a project that requires intense supervision. He's there at all hours to guide progress on the three-story house, which will feature a courtyard entry and four guest suites. He won't put a dollar figure on it, but it looks as if it's probably worth between $750,000 and $1 million. Of course, some people would envy a house built practically atop the area's most prestigious country club. But Teal says he prefers boating to golf and isn't a member of the club anyway. In any case, from his house he'll have a rare view of the club's well-lighted structures. A cantilevered, screened porch on the back will overlook a creek, a giant weeping willow and a continuous round of CCV golfers. That view works both ways, generating considerable interest among club members and passersby. "Golly day," Teal says, "every place we go, it's a big topic of conversation. They say 'Oh, you're the ones building that house.'" The place should be finished by spring. — Deveron Timberlake

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