News & Features » Miscellany

In which we bestow kisses, new-century-style, upon some of the city's most kissable — and on some who aren't so lovable.

The Big Smooch

[image-1](Chad Hunt / Style Weekly)
Jim Gilmore Jim Gilmore for turning a political connection into a nationwide position. Good old Jim Gilmore. He's determined, but unlike George Allen he's no demagogue, and — also unlike Allen — he seems like a decent guy. Goodness knows he's not backing down from his promise to kill the car tax, despite vast evidence suggesting he'd be fiscally wise to do so. Despite a speaking style that can make Al Gore seem animated, Gilmore has clambered quickly up the political ladder, starting out as an attorney on Fitzhugh Avenue and making it as far as the Executive Mansion. Most recently, Gilmore parlayed his advisory position with now-President George W. Bush into a job running the national Republican Party, a pretty visible gig for a guy who used to be a distant second, to George Allen, in the rankings of the state's Republicans. But all isn't rosy at the mansion. For one thing, Gilmore is having trouble reining in his fellow Virginia Republicans — the candidates for statewide office are still skirmishing with each other. This may not bode well for his tenure running the national party. Plus, his state budget is under fire. And why didn't Bush tap Gilmore, a well-respected former state attorney general, to be U.S. attorney general? Just because he already is serving as governor? No way. Bush loves hiring governors for his Cabinet. And surely Gilmore would have had an easier confirmation than John Ashcroft. Is there something going on we should know about? [image-2]
Reva Trammell Reva! for fighting City Hall. Reva Trammell, the undisputed queen of South Side, never took a fight lying down. That came in handy this year. But through all her travails, Trammell remained unbowed and unabashed. After all, she had faced down drug dealers and crack houses on Midlothian Turnpike. Compared to those battles, City Hall's political infighting must have seemed like gnats buzzing. It apparently started, as all the really delicious Richmond stories do, with a broken heart. Trammell had been called to testify on behalf of Daniel S. Quinney, a police officer accused of slapping her, and said on the stand that she had asked her boyfriend, another police officer, not to tell his superiors about the slap. In that trial, some curious details surfaced — for example, Wendel testified that Quinney had described for him a mole on Trammell's breast — but the case ended up being dismissed. Nonetheless, Quinney was fired and Wendel was suspended. Then Richmond Commonwealth's Attorney David Hicks sent up an indictment, accusing Trammell of violating the city charter by giving city employees a direct order. Then two judges recused themselves from the case. Then Trammell subpoenaed every other City Council member. Then it was revealed that Hicks had been giving himself generous bonuses — $40,000 or so over the past three years. Finally, Trammell's attorney, Michael Morchower, argued that those bonuses presented an apparent conflict of interest and got Hicks and the Richmond office to withdraw from the case. Then a special prosecutor was appointed. And early this month, that special prosecutor said he was dropping the case because it was, though well-prepared by Hicks' office, just too trivial to pursue. Whew. Reva, once again, is triumphant. Tune in tomorrow. [image-3](Photo Illustration by Jeffrey Bland / Style Weekly) Clear Channel for being unafraid to be mean. Last August, gigantic radio companies Clear Channel and AMFM merged. Ever since, it's been carnage on the airwaves. At least 16 people have been fired or have quit local Clear Channel stations — which include WRVA-AM, WRVQ-FM and WRXL-FM — since the new bosses took over. Take Jeff Beck, once part of "Jeff and Jeff," the morning team on WRXL. After 11 years at the station, he got dumped — nine weeks after having quadruple-bypass surgery. The blood bath has been most notable on WRVA, once Richmond's friendly news station. Now, though, being a beloved institution just is not enough. Lou Dean — get out! Jerry Lund — pack your bags! All right, who's next? Once, WRVA spoke to Richmond in a way the town understood — a gentle, Southern voice that was wry, often sentimental, proudly local. Not anymore. Now the station is trying to be hard-hitting, big-city news. Which means, of course, more about Washington, D.C., and less about what makes this town unique. WRVA used to be the voice of Richmond. Now it's just another AM talk-radio station. What a shame. Alden Aaroe, where are you? [image-4](Warner Brooks)David Baldacci David Baldacci for wishing others well. What do you do when your books are best-sellers (more than 25 million sold so far) and people line up at your signings waiting patiently to get your signature in their purchase? If you're David Baldacci, you give a lot of the attention back to the community. Fortunately for Richmond, Baldacci grew up here, graduated from Henrico High School and VCU, and his parents still live here. Maybe that explains why, when many other wealthy writers milk every charitable connection for every iota of public-relations potential, Baldacci quietly has gone far, far beyond the call of duty to help some people who need help. He is a soft touch for causes he believes in and is the honorary co-chairman with his wife of the Cystic Fibrosis Society's "Starry Night 2001 Gala," which supports cystic fibrosis research. He has attended this event five times and can be counted on to contribute to the gala's auction such profitable items as a dinner at the Inn at Little Washington with the Baldaccis. Plus, he is on the board of the VCU Foundation, and has been seen at fund-raisers and programs held by the Virginia Literacy Foundation, the Virginia Blood Service, the Henrico County Public Schools Education Foundation, On April 7, he will be the honorary chairman of the MS Walk and will be the keynote speaker at the corporate breakfast for the MSWalk and the Virginia Dare Bike Tour. Who said noblesse oblige has disappeared? [image-5](Chad Hunt / Style Weekly)
Jessica Shook Jessica Shook, CEO of Operation Candycane, for comforting the afflicted. There's no need to hang mistletoe over Jessica Shook to cover her with kisses. Three years ago around Halloween, she told her parents she wanted to throw a Christmas party. OK, so that's pretty typical for a 14-year-old. But Jessica was determined to stage a no-holds-barred celebration for the sick kids in the pediatrics ward of MCV. Her parents said they'd provide supervision and transportation — but Jessica had to take care of the details. So, the intrepid teen-ager went door-to-door in search of help. Even asked her neighbors for party food. And toys, of course. Operation Candycane was a success. Santa even showed up to distribute the toys. "The kids came running to see him," Jessica says, "even in their wheelchairs." And for those who couldn't get out of bed, Santa exchanged his sleigh for a little red wagon and made the rounds. It was a party that needed repeating. The following year, Jessica told her 15 core volunteers, "You have to look past the sickness and be willing to understand these kids may not have another Christmas," she recalls. "So you need to forget about how sick they are and help them have a wonderful, wonderful time." Now moving into its fourth year, Operation Candycane has brought Christmas to more than 200 kids in the hospital, and Jessica orchestrates the operation like a natural-born CEO. "From October through December all my weekends are gone putting the party together," she says, detailing how she makes lists, distributes flyers and collects donations. She has tapped the sister of a friend to succeed her when she enters college. "Other groups have wanted to take over once I leave high school," she says, "but the whole purpose of Operation Candycane has been kids helping kids. And that's the way I want it to stay." [image-6]
64 magazine for having one to grow on. Blow out a candle! Last month, startup regional arts pub 64 made it through its first full year of publication — not an easy task, even with well-heeled investors and tax-exempt status. Publisher Lorna Wyckoff, who almost 20 years ago founded what has evolved into today's Style Weekly, deserves credit for pulling it off. Sure, 64's design is often a little much — high on concept, low on clarity. True, sometimes the relevancy of the content puzzles us (one recent cover story: a "Saturday Night Live" comedian who happened to have attended the University of Virginia). And the small staff has been, well, a bit fluid. This is, after all, a publication in which the publisher forced out her hand-picked editor before the first issue was published in January 2000. But perhaps readers hardly notice those things. After all, this is a fun, "celebratory" magazine that seems to fill a niche. Paid subscribers have reportedly grown to 15,000. And we can't wait to hear the anniversary issue's supplemental CD, which features songs from a variety of Virginia musicians. Now home stereos, as well as coffee tables,can be happy. And so can art lovers. We wish Wyckoff well in year No. 2. [image-7](Stephen Salpukas / Style Weekly)Comfort and hope: Melanie Dempsey, left, and Robin Yoder. Barbara and Bill Hawthorne, Robin Yoder and Melanie Dempsey for giving hope. Where there's a kiss there's a smile, and where there's a smile there's gotta be sunshine. Only at the Hawthorne, the newly opened Cancer Resource Center at Johnston-Willis Medical Center, it's sun-kissed blue sunshine. "Some people ask about our blue sunshine logo," says Robin Yoder, a cancer survivor and Johnston-Willis oncology social worker. "I tell them that this is a place where we don't assume anything. Suns don't always have to be yellow, and just because you have cancer doesn't mean you won't survive. This is a place for hope and support." It's also a place where dreams come true. Yoder helped Barbara and Ernest W. "Bill" Hawthorne as both battled with cancer seven years ago. Before their deaths, the Hawthornes bequeathed a grant to the Johns Foundation in the hopes that a permanent facility could be built to help support cancer patients. That's when Yoder and her friend and colleague Melanie Dempsey, director of radiation oncology at Henrico Doctors' Hospital, started dreaming. Yoder and Dempsey sketched out a design on their home computers, then invited cancer support-group members to participate in meetings with architects and designers. The result is a medical office building that has been transformed into a warm and intimate place of soft light, tropical fish and vibrant colors. It's now a place where all cancer patients — from children to the elderly — and their families can find an emotional refuge for a few hours between medical appointments, download the latest cancer information and gather support materials for the body and soul. Eskimo Pie and many others for giving us sweet memories and then saying goodbye. Richmond can always claim bragging rights as the birthplace of the ice cream bar dipped in chocolate. But our hearts grew cold when the struggling corporation, after fighting off takeovers for years, sold itself to Canadian company CoolBrands International in September. Memories of the frozen treat will always stick around. But its 78-year run at calling Richmond home ended. We also throw a farewell kiss to some other companies formerly based in our back yard. Reynolds Metals Co., although it will maintain a strong presence in Richmond, was acquired by Pittsburgh-based Alcoa Inc. in May. And the end was up for homegrown crate-style furniture company This End Up; it closed in June. And Richmond's last remaining brokerage, Branch Cabell & Co. Inc., sold to Boston-based Tucker Anthony Sutro in September. Finally, a good-luck kiss goes to local heroes Heilig-Meyers Co., which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy during the past year, and AMF Bowling, which thought about it. Let's hope they can hold on tight. Jump to Part 1, 2,Continue to Part 2

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