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Friday, June 9, 2023

We begin this Friday with the good news. It looks like the worst is behind us as far as air quality in central Virginia — at least for now. 

At 9 a.m. Friday, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality's air quality alert was at a “moderate” level, which means only “unusually sensitive” people are likely to experience symptoms from breathing the air today. (Here is the link to the state's alerts.)

A field with hay bales is pictured barley visible through smog.
Credit: Photo provided by Peter Forister

Meteorologists expect the air quality to continue improving over the weekend as the wind direction shifts. For most of this week, the wind was coming out of the north, bringing the smoke and fine particles from massive wildfires burning in Canada's Québec province. Today, the wind is coming from the northwest. By tomorrow, it should be coming from due west.

The caveat to this good news is that as long as these wildfires continue burning in Canada, the reprieve will only last until the wind starts blowing from the north again. So, we could be in for a long and smoky summer. As of yesterday, there were 231 wildfires burning out of control in Canada, according to the Canadian Interagency Forest Fire Centre.

Seven people sit at a wooden dais facing an auditoruim.
Credit: Screenshot from Council meeting

City Council hopes to hire its sixth city manager in six years before July

In other news, the Charlottesville City Council is close to hiring a new permanent city manager. The Council began advertising for the position in March. Mayor Lloyd Snook said the city received 40 applications, which Council has narrowed down to three. Councilors conducted interviews this week, and are deliberating next steps. They've not said who the candidates are or if there will be community engagement in the process.

If Council does hire someone this round, the person will be Charlottesville's sixth city manager in six years. (Seventh, if you count Marc Woolley, who accepted the job in November 2021, but then quit before his start date.)

Here is an assortment of stories about some of the people who have cycled through the city's top job:

Credit: Charlotte Rene Woods / Collectbritain

Finally, Charlottesville's Parks and Recreation Department will be hosting free dinners for children this summer. The hope is to fill the gap created by the end of free school lunches for children of families with low incomes.

Charlottesville Parks and Recreation is offering free dinners to any children who need them this summer

The lunches are first come first serve, and anyone 18 or under can eat. Check the story for details about times and locations.

I hope this weekend brings us clean air out of the west, and that you're able to get outside safely!

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Collectbritain's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at [email protected]! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a [email protected].