Charlottesville Breaking News

Going coastal: And like a bad neighbor...


In 1938, when storm-watchers gave hurricanes names fit for railroad lines, the Great New England formed off Africa's western coast, hurtled across the Atlantic and turned north, making landfall in Central Long Island.

Winds as fast as 130 miles per hour blew across the peninsula, sweeping a Westhampton movie theater out to sea, toppling the tallest building in Sag Harbor and turning Montauk into an island. In Manhattan, streets three blocks inland from the East River flooded, and the Empire State Building is said to have swayed. By the time the storm finished cutting through New England and into Canada, some 57,000 homes were destroyed, and as many as 800 lives lost.

When present-day risk experts think about the worst-case scenario for the New York region, they base their assumptions on the Great New England.

That wasn't even a direct hit. 'If you take that storm and put it on the Irene track, then you get multiples and multiples of the damages,' said Karen Clark, the chief executive officer of catastrophe risk firm Karen Clark & Co. and the mother of the catastrophe-modeling industry.

The Great New England cost the insurance industry $35 billion in 2012 dollars, according to Ms. Clark's research. Move a hurricane of the same force through the center of today's Manhattan, and the results are ter...

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Fit to be tried: Crossfit expands, boot camps

When Crossfit Charlottesville opened in the summer of 2009, some questioned whether the high intensity, short workouts focused on "functional fitness," where workouts have names like "Cindy" and "Fran," and adherents use words like "WOD" and "Rx"– was a passing trend. Three years later, the original Crossfit gym is thriving, says its founder, and on November 1, it got some competition with the opening of a new Crossfit location whose owners believe there's plenty of demand to support both businesses.

"We thought we could make a unique environment," says Michael Towne, a former U.S. Marine who opened Solidarity Crossfit in the former Stubblefield Photo space on Harris Avenue with his wife, Becky Tippett.

Unlike other businesses, Crossfit affiliates are under only the loose control by the California-based parent corporation. For a couple thousand dollars, a new gym can use the Crossfit name, and, unlike many other franchises, the parent company puts no restrictions on how many gyms– called "boxes" in Crossfit lingo– can open in a given area.

"You could open three Crossfit gyms next door to each other," notes Crossfit Charlottesville co-owner Kyle Redinger, who sees positive and negative in that policy. "It increases competition, which is good," he notes, "but it also means gym owners may be reticent to invest heavily in expanding, since they have no guarantee of the population size they alone are serving."

Nor do the corporate he...

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Fatal crash: Lewis pleads guilty in death of daughter, ex-husband

DEMEANOR HERE, Jessica X Lewis, the Crimora woman charged with manslaughter in the November 2011 deaths of her daughter and ex-husband, pleaded guilty to aggravated manslaughter in Albemarle Circuit Court.


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What was she under the influence of?


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Neighborly complaint: Fix those hooves!

Someone in Gordonsville has dropped the reins on taking care of at least one of the horses on an estate on Lovers Lane near Route 33, and a neighbor’s complaint is not gaining much traction with local officials or the owners, despite the owners’ seemingly ample resources and the pro-horse outlook of many in rural Albemarle county.

A neighbor who wishes to remain anonymous took a photo of the pony in question, which appears to be suffering from gross hoof neglect. Hoof neglect occurs when a horse’s hooves are not trimmed and the overgrown portions alter the orientation of the feet in relation to the ground, making it painful for the horse to walk and potentially causing tendon damage.

Horses are normally taken to farriers every couple of months for trimming and shoeing. These horse specialists practice a trade dating back to the Middle Ages that has roots in blacksmithing.

Though the issue was brought to the attention of Orange County Animal Control in April by the neighbor, the pony has been continually sighted with no noticeable changes to the hooves, even as recently as last week. In communications with the complainant, Orange animal control officials have repeatedly asserted that the pony is receiving rescue care, however they did not respond the neighbor’s request for proof of this.

“That length of hoof can only be caused by lack of hoof care,” said Maya Proulx of Hope’s Legacy Equine Rescue in Afton. “To grow feet that long...

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Classroom tech: Local high schools go online

Tomorrow’s kindergarten students may live through a transition that means many of their high school classes will not include a teacher in the classroom. The technology used by today’s high school students, whether it’s in a student’s pocket or on a screen in front of them, bears little resemblance to what was available when they started their formal educations.


Charlottesville and Albemarle public schools are both ramping up investments in online courses, partly in...

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