Charlottesville Breaking News

Enough is enough: State should bow out of liquor biz

By Coy Barefoot


Our government has no business being in the liquor business. It's time for the Virginia state government to get out of the business of making money off a statewide monopoly on liquor sales. This is an embarrassing anachronism from the days of alcohol prohibition. Our government was not created to sell liquor. Our government was not founded to operate a profit-driven agency. Business is better left in the hands of business.

Washington state used to have the same 1920s-era monopoly on liquor that Virginia now has. But in a 2011 referendum, voters wisely put an end to that. Washington state privatized liquor sales last year. And you know what? The sky did not fall. Drunk driving is down, and the state is actually making more money. Go figure.

Governor Bob McDonnell (back in less scandal-ridden days), led a valiant effort to get the Virginia government out of the liquor business, but a coalition of Democrats and Republicans opposed him. Some Democrats did a lot of brow-wiping over the threat of losing millions of dollars the state makes selling booze. Some social conservatives did a lot of hand-wringing about the idea of a liquor store on every corner across the Commonwealth. The very same folks who endlessly beat the drum about less government and more free enterprise stood in the Governor’s way and against their own purported beliefs.

The day will come when a bipartisan group of leaders steps...

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Spotlight on Ivy

Area: Ivy
Price range:
$79,000-$1,275,000
Schools:
Meriwether Lewis, Murray Elementary, Henley, Western Albemarle
Pros:
proximity to Charlottesville, scenery, school districts
Cons:
prices, nebulous boundaries

For a place that has a population of roughly 1,000 people, the Ivy area has a good bit to offer. There’s gourmet dining at Duner’s, eclectic shopping at the Ivy Corner Store, meditation and yoga at A Place to Breathe, chiropractic care at Ivy Commons Family Chiropractic, an array of organic sleep supplies at Savvy Rest, and a friendly duo manning the tiny post office and putting the lie to the disgruntled postal worker stereotype. 

Where the actual borders of Ivy lie is a matter of some interpretation. There are those who consider the communities of Farmington and Ednam to be part of the greater Ivy area, while others take a more literal view, believing that Ivy begins at the road marker on 250 West and extends to the point where 240 leads into Crozet. A boundary map, found at maptechnic...

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The week in review

Best news for preservationists: The keeper of the National Register of Historic Places determines that the Jesse Scott Sammons family house and cemetery is eligible for inclusion in the registry, Sean Tubbs reports in Charlottesville Tomorrow. Sammons was a prominent African-American educator in the Hydraulic Mills area in the post-Civil War era; the property lies in the path of the Western U.S. 29 bypass.

Best get for Charlottesville schools: The Boyd C. Tinsley Fund donates $75,000 to help needy students play musical instruments and tennis, and for individual tutoring. The DMB violinist is a 1982 grad of CHS' orchestra program.

Hastiest retreat: Albemarle school division's ill-advised plan to "rebrand" Walton Middle School  has been dropped, although two companies submitted bids for marketing strategies. J. Reynolds Hutchins has the story in the Progress.

Worst people to try to mug: Johnny Calderon, 19, and Gerald William Allen, 18, appear beaten to a pulp after allegedly attempting to rob two men on Fontaine Avenue August 27. They're detained by the would-be victims until police arrive.

Worst deja-vu: Michael Lee Saylor, 58, is arrested for aggravated sexual battery of a child under 13, NBC29...

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The 67-cent felony: A veteran winemaker runs afoul of the ABC

Long before vineyards became agriculture du jour in Virginia, Mike Bowles planted grapevines in 1977,  and he claims he's Albemarle's first farm winery operator. Thirty years later, he wanted to be a pioneer again and hop on the craft-distillery trend to make the Italian spirit grappa from his chardonnay grape leftovers. Instead, he's earned a more dubious distinction as possibly the first person to get busted while applying for a federal distillery license. Under Virginia's Alcoholic Beverage Control regs, that could cost him his license to make wine at all.

Bowles insists he was trying to comply with the hefty volume of federal and state regulations that date from the end of Prohibition, and says he had no idea the eight-ounce sample bottle sitting on his desk when ABC agents came in would lead to a felony charge that could jeopardize his mom-and-pop business.

Moonshiners, he points out, already know how to distill liquor, but the veteran winemaker did not. Bowles wanted to make sure he could do it before investing in a trend noted even in the spring issue of the ABC's Licensee newsletter, which featured "Craft distilleries on the rise." And the federal application required that he provide a step-by-step process.

His son, who was going to be in charge of making grappa for the winery, ordered a still off the Internet, and the sample he made and gave Bowles put the ex-Marine officer in trouble with the law for the first time in h...

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Last day: Mike Farruggio turns in his cuffs

If a guy has been a cop for 25 years in Charlottesville, yeah, there are going to be some stories.

"We had some prior information that UVA students were going to be streaking," reveals Captain Gary Pleasants. "I told everyone not to go to UVA. The next day I see on the cover of the Cavalier Daily Mike Farruggio and another officer, standing there with a naked guy in the picture."

It's Farruggio's last day with the Charlottesville Police Department, and Pleasants relates the story while eating a piece of raspberry drip cake as colleagues file in to say farewell.

Sergeant Bobby Haney, who succeeds Farruggio in staff development and accreditation, recalls SWAT training. "We hadn't rappelled in a couple of years," he says, standing in Farruggio's old/Haney's new office. "Mike says he'll go first. He gets out on a 40-foot fire tower, sits back in his gear, flips back, and he's hanging upside down."

Brooklyn-born Farruggio remembers the culture shock moving down to Charlottesville after working two years for NYPD, including a stint in New York's notorious 77th precinct, where a colleague left the windows open in his squad car, and returned to find the car on fire.

On the mean streets of Charlottesville, Farruggio started as a beat cop on August 29, 1988, and worked night shift for six years. He spent six years in narcotics. He made detective. He met the woman who's now been his wife of 16 years, Jan, who's still a dispatcher. And he...

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