The Chang effect: Wooing palates, breaking hearts— and why he left

Last fall, word that a famous Szechuan chef had quietly set up in Charlottesville had foodies salivating. There was a small newspaper mention and online chatter from groupies who track his every move, but after a March 1 story in the New Yorker, diners went into a feeding frenzy.

“We were surprised that it became so popular so fast,” says restaurant co-owner John Rong during a lunch time interview last week. “We noticed business going up after the story in the Hook, too, but when that story in the New Yorker come out…”

Indeed, sophisticated palates from Richmond and D.C. began making pilgrimages to Taste of China, where— even on cold winter evenings— lines could be seen snaking out onto the sidewalk of the north wing of Albemarle Square Shopping Center.

What was happening?

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Talkin’ trash on the Schilling Show

Conservative talk radio show host Rob Schilling had me on to talk about the RSWA lawsuit against Pete Van Der Linde. Listen. You can check out the series on this in Selected Writings. I’ve been writing about this for some time, and I’m still trying to figure out what the heck’s going on! lol

Waste Wars

cover-murf-1Way back in February of 2008 I wrote about Peter Van der Linde’s new state-of-the art recycling facility out at Zion Crossroads. Since then, the story has become quite interresting…a story about a man who may have a solution to our waste woes, the same man being sued by our own waste authority….

What a Waste: Is the trash Authority going obsolete?

Why is the main local trash authority suing the man who has offered a solution for the local waste disposal problem? And why is that man paying investigators to find out what words are spoken at the entrance booth of the authority’s favorite trash station?

It’s all part of an ongoing waste war. And before it ends, there’s a chance that the private citizen– unless he’s vanquished in court– may have beaten government at its own game.

Before you toss this newspaper in the recycling bin (we hope that’s what you’ll do after reading it), let’s talk trash with Peter Van der Linde.

A ‘real player’
“The landfill of the future just came to town,” says Van der Linde, a slender, soft-spoken man whose voice sounds not unlike a friendly wizard in a fantasy film, but although it might seem like magic, his new $11 million recycling facility near Zion Crossroads isn’t imaginary. It really does turn trash into cash.

“In the last seven years or so, these separation machines have really been perfected,” says Van der Linde. “I did a lot of research on them, and I believe this one I bought is the ultimate machine.”

Inside a 100,000-square foot steel-framed building, one of three such structures on the site, a 15-man crew is running a state-of the-art recycling machine, a $3.2 million device that can sort up to 100 tons of construction and demolition debris and curbside recyclables per hour. (more)

Wasted revenue? Authority realized in 2005 station didn’t track origins

As reported in a recent cover story [“What a Waste: Is the trash Authority going obsolete?”], there’s a waste war raging with distrust, lawsuits, and even spying.

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority is suing Peter Van der Linde, who recently opened a major recycling facility in Zion Crossroads (right next to the RSWA-sponsored facility), to retrieve millions in fees the outspoken hauler allegedly avoided paying by lying about the origins of his trash. However, Authority documents recently obtained by the Hook show that the Authority may have been fleeced by its own partner in trash. (More)

Recycle this! Van der Linde steps up tone

Recycling entrepreneur Peter Van der Linde, who opened an $11 million state-of-the-art recycling facility in Zion Crossroads last December, recently did a round of local radio interviews, drawing attention once again to his ongoing legal battle with the Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, which has filed a $3.5 million lawsuit against him.

“If this doesn’t bother you, nothing will,” declared former Republican City Councilor Rob Schilling on his WINA radio program, saying he was “disgusted” by the Authority’s action against Van der Linde. “It’s wrong in every single way.” (More)