Charlottesville Breaking News
I have a furnace that runs on natural gas, a gas stove, a gas dryer, and a gas hot water heater. I am happy with these, especially the stove. Gas is great for cooking. It never occurred to me, however, to wonder where my gas originated until I signed on for an overnight camping trip in West Virginia.
Wild Virginia, a non-profit environmental organization based in Charlottesville, welcomes members who believe passionately in caring for the outdoors and the creatures who live there. Its members are smart people who recognize that what happens in the forests affects the air in our cities and the streams that flow into our reservoirs, as well as into rivers like the James and the Shenandoah.
Earlier this month a caravan of cars carried 17 of us over too many hairpin curves to count until we were in the northwest corner of West Virginia. We didn't go to camp at the base of a waterfall, or to hike a scenic trail, but to observe up-close the industrialization that occurs when an energy company goes after the deep natural gas supplies more than 7,000 feet under the farm houses, brick ranchers, and cow pastures that straddle the narrow mountain roads of Doddridge County.
As resident Diane Pitcock will tell you, "Doddridge County lies at the heart of all the wet gas." Wet gas, she says, has more than just natural gas. It contains other saleable gases like ethane and butane, making her underground neighborhood prime real estate.
City Council candidate Wes Bellamy was in court April 11 long enough to reschedule a hearing on two charges: driving on a suspended license and failure to appear in court.
He stopped briefly outside Charlottesville General District Court to tell reporters he couldn't talk to them about why his license had been suspended. "I'm looking forward to speaking about it and getting it all cleared up, but I can't now," said Bellamy, pointing to his attorney, Ron Tweel.
Tweel, perhaps better known for his work in family law, is considered by some to be one of the top divorce lawyers in town. But taking a traffic case is no big stretch, says Tweel, after 40 years practicing law, even though he quit traffic cases about 15 years ago.
"I'm representing Wes because I know him from the NAACP," explains Tweel. "He's probably one of the most engaged African-Americans in this community in a generation."
Tweel, too, declines to say what landed Bellamy in suspended-license hot water until after the May 16 hearing.
Bellamy is one of five Democratic candidates seeking the party's nomination in the June 11 primary for two open seats on City Council.
Latest Albemarle traffic fatalities: An 88-year-woman driving a 2002 Buick LeSabre plows into the median and a tree on U.S. 29 south of Hollymead Town Center April 10, killing her 87-year-old passenger, Gerard Joseph Smith. Driver Jeanette Smith dies April 16. The Smiths are the fourth and fifth people to die on Albemarle roads this year; three other people died the last week of March in unrelated accidents.
Latest in the Crozet hit-and-run: Joseph Wade Payne, 20, of Buckingham, turns himself in April 15 for the March 30 death of 71-year-old Carroll Herring on U.S. 250. Two vehicles struck Herring, and police are still searching for the driver of a dark-colored Saab and are offering a $1,000 reward.
Latest Crabtree Falls casualty: Faith Helbig, an 18-year-old Liberty University student from New Jersey, falls to her death April 8 on a hike, becoming the 28th recorded fatality at the falls, the News & Advance reports.
Most serious burns: A 62-year-old North Garden woman suffers third-degree burns on 80-90 percent of her body April 9 when she tries to light a charcoal grill using denatured alcohol. WINA has the story.
Most serious charges: Henry Lee Jasper, 32, of Louisa is charged with forcible rape and...
Free Union resident Harry Landers finished his fifth Boston Marathon in three hours and 39 minutes. He was showering in his hotel room at around 4:10 into the race when the bombs exploded.
"I just heard two explosions– what was that?" his wife, Janis Jaquith, saw someone post on Facebook. She cut on the TV in their hotel room a few blocks away from the finish line.
"It was jaw-dropping," says Jaquith. "You can't believe it's happening on such a joyful day. It's Patriot Day, and it's a joy to be alive," especially for those who just finished a 26-mile run. At press time, three people are dead and 170 wounded.
"Where the bomb went off was where Harry had been cheering me on the day before when I ran a 5K," recounts Jaquith. "That's right where people got their limbs blown off the next day." And that's where bystanders and family members waiting for their marathoners would be, she adds.
Hook columnist, Jaquith, and Landers, both Massachusetts natives, spoke to the Hook from Boston the day after the terror of April 15. "It was absolute shock and people were crying," says Jaquith, describing "horror upon horror." There was frantic checking in with everyone, and dozens of people to worry about, she says.
Landers was there with his running group from Charlottesville, which included Ragged Mountain's Mark Lorenzoni, builder Mike Gaffney, and about 30 others.
"For me, this is like Christmas, the 4th of July and my bi...