Charlottesville Breaking News

Wrecking ball: EconoLodge and other buildings going down

Not many will mourn the passing of the EconoLodge on Emmet Street. Even in a town that values preservation of its historic past, the now-underway demolition of the 1962 motel close to UVA elicits disappointment—  only in that it won't be blown up, but instead will be taken down with a backhoe, according to a phone call to contractor S.B. Cox.


Certainly the motel's recent guests, the majority of which rated it "terrible" on TripAdvisor and complained about dirty rooms and bedbugs, won't be lamenting its demise. It's the place where former model Linda Doig was found dead in room 115 under mysterious circumstances on December 5, 2011.


The UVA Foundation bought the 1.5-acre site, which also houses the Afghan Kabob Palace, in May 2008 for $6 million. Good news for kabob lovers: The restaurant will stay, says UVA spokesperson McGregor McCance.

Renovation was not considered, says McCance. "The decision to end operation and demolish the property was, in part, made because the property was approaching the end of its physical and economic life," he says. The demolition will cost  approximately $125,000, and sho...

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Feedback loop: Red Light turns on at the Southern

For four years now, the Southern Cafe & Music Hall has survived in the shadow of Coran Capshaw's Jefferson Theater on the Downtown Mall, competing every week for a share of the music show-going crowd. While founder Andy Gems admits he hasn't gotten rich doing it, he says he hasn't lost money either, and more importantly— he's kept the small-venue music scene alive.

"I've invested a lot of time and money in the local music scene," says Gems," more than anybody else I know."

That persistence appears to have paid off. A recent grand re-opening event at the Southern on Thursday, August 22, launched the new partnership between Gems and Capshaw's Red Light Management, which has now, as Gems characterizes, become the "captain of the ship."

"I wanted this," says Gems. "This is a good move, big picture good, for music in this town."

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2013 Fall Music Preview

While there might not be the scientific data to back up this claim, the fact of the matter is that the music scene in C'ville is like an ocean: high-energy, action-packed music moments come in waves. Charlottesville was once home to a dynamic scene of '70s ensembles; it later morphed into a sleepy little town where Dave Matthews found his calling; it went through fits and spurts of re-invention as industry moguls staked their claims on the area and ramped up the venue game; and today, the line-up for the fall season is jam-packed with must-see talent— both locally and nationally-renowned.

A huge contribution to the current wave of excitement that's engulfing Charlottesville music? The plethora of festivals on the horizon. What better place to host a weekend of music mania than the sweeping properties that pepper the surrounding areas— practically divinely created for the purpose of weekend camping, long nights of live music, and rollicking fan communities coming together. Four major festivals loom large this fall–– grand, diverse, and not-to-be-missed.



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Blink: Driver asks if he's thrifty or crazy

 Dear Tom and Ray:       

I don't mind being called a sorry skinflint as long as I can justify my penny-pinching proclivities. I happen to believe that there are only so many "blinks" in a blinker. Therefore, I turn mine on only when absolutely necessary to signal another driver. For example, if I'm in a turn-only lane, I don't waste any blinks. Nor do I sit at a light with my blinker clicking and clacking, driving me nuts with the thought of all that wasted energy and technology until the light turns green. Am I right in my hypothesis, or do I need professional help?— Randy      

TOM: I would lean toward the latter, Randy.       
RAY: I mean, of course you're right that all mechanical parts eventually wear out. But you have to consider the risk/reward equation for what you're doing.       
TOM: On the reward side, you might save a few bucks on light bulbs over the life of the car. You might.       
RAY: And while the flasher unit generally lasts the life of the vehicle, sometimes the directional switch on the steering-wheel stalk will fail before the car does. If your behavior makes it last the life of the car, then you can save a few bucks there, too.     TOM: But here's something to keep in mind: You might not save any money. Let's say the typical directional bulb lasts 50,000 mil...

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Bugging out: Holiday stay sparks tension

Dear Carolyn:     

Both of our sons came home for Thanksgiving. We put up our older son and his family in a hotel and had our younger son, his new (second) wife and their baby stay in our guest room.     

How I wish I had switched! On Friday morning, the new wife said she had bug bites. I said that twice in the past I had bites also and thought they were from bedbugs. We had done some Internet searching and gone to my dermatologist and discovered bedbugs are not medically dangerous and not the result of uncleanliness. We gave her hydrocortisone and sympathized with her.     

That evening, they moved into the hotel. Our son said his wife was absolutely adamant that they get out of our home. She has the reputation of being a "strong" woman, and she earns a very high income, so she is able always to get her way.      My husband and I felt embarrassed and disappointed that she reacted that way, but we are aware that a first-time, 45-year-old mother probably had mother-bear hormones at play, and we don't blame our son too much for giving in to her demands.     

But what did that accomplish? She washed everything they brought in hot water, as did I with everything downstairs. My husband thinks she threw away their suitcases. We will buy plastic cases for the bed, but what else can we d...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse