Charlottesville Breaking News

'The Birds': Tippi to tell all at Virginia Film Festival

A movie that terrified a generation will screen again on its 50th anniversary at the Virginia Film Festival, which is bringing Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds and its star, Tippi Hedren, to Charlottesville.

Hedren, 83, made her film debut in The Birds after being spotted by Hitchcock in a commercial for Sego, the SlimFast of its day. Of his six blonde leading ladies, a roster that included Grace Kelly and Kim Novak, Hedren had perhaps the most troubled relationship with the director, and went public about the perils of being the object of his desire.

“Tippi Hedren is a fascinating actress, who will offer audiences unmatched insight into one of the most terrifying films and iconic directors in Hollywood history,” says Jody Kielbasa, film fest director and UVA vice provost for the arts.

The 26th Virginia Film Festival runs November 7-10. The Birds will screen Friday, November 8, and Hedren will discuss the movie— and dish about Hitch— afterward.

Hedren's appearance is the first announcement of this year's line-up from Kielbasa, who spends September scoring new releases for a regional premiere.

In other breaking film festival news, the Family Day program will move from the Downtown Mall to the Betsy and John Casteen Arts Grounds at UVA.

More to come in October.

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Angry probationer: Kroboth back in jail

The man convicted of the attempted murder of his wife while wearing a vampire mask on Halloween in 2004 has decided he wants to be released from supervised probation in Arizona, according to court documents. And that quest for independence has landed him back in the slammer in Charlottesville for the second time this year.

Former financier Kurt Kroboth got into trouble with his probation officers earlier this year when he filed paperwork for a trip from his current residence in Green Valley, Arizona, to San Francisco and took an unannounced detour to Eugene, Oregon, to see his son, who reported him to police.

That excursion earned him six months for a probation violation. Kroboth was sentenced to seven year...

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Close call: Wrong-way on interstate prompts reckless charge

An evening out with a friend in Crozet ended with a close call for a Charlottesville traveler headed eastbound on I-64 on Saturday night, August 3, after encountering another driver going the wrong way on the interstate.

"I see these headlights coming toward me," says Belmont resident Jenny Mead, who didn't realize what was happening until the other vehicle had passed. 

"Fortunately, it was in the other lane— the passing lane," says Mead, who quickly exited the highway and called 911.

"They told me there had been many calls," she says. Shaken by the close call with a possible high-speed, head-on collision, she attempted for several days to find out the circumstances behind the wrong-way driver.

"I couldn't get any answers," she says.

According to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller, the driver of the wrong-way white, 2004 Kia was 84-year-old Albemarle County resident Frances Shisler, who entered the interstate at the Shadwell exit and continued on against the flow of traffic for six miles until she was stopped by police at exit 118.

"I realized as soon as I did it," said Shisler, reached by phone. She said she'd been to the Moose Lodge east of Charlottesville and explained that she continued driving west even as 70-mph traffic rushed toward her because "there was no place to turn around."

"I've been driving since I was 10 years old, and this is my first ticket," said an irate Shisler, noting that no driv...

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Not a fan

Stonefield is a mistake ["On set at Stonefield: They built it, but will people come?" August 15]. Bigger is not better, as wise people have always known, and another shopping center in this community is overkill. It adds nothing to the quality of life. Those of us who protested the Stonefield development were concerned about this issue and others, such as traffic patterns and congestion, soil erosion, water runoff, and losing local merchants and businesses to yet more national chains.

Our first glimpse of the disaster-in-the-making was the clear-cutting of all vegetation and eliminating all trees, especially the large ones. One of the hallmarks of good new development in other parts of the country has been the realization by developers that trees can be saved and will add much to the ambience of new construction. It costs a little more, but it’s worth it. Saving big trees makes a statement. It says the developers care. Trees soften the harsh lines of new buildings and create a pleasant atmosphere where strolling and shopping is encouraged. They add to the cleanliness of the air and help eliminate toxic fumes. This doesn’t happen with concrete pots of little flowers.

Stonefield is ugly, and with the exception of Trader Joe's, is redundant. Most of the stores are vacant. The streets are narrow and hard to navigate. There is inadequate parking. Signage is non-existe...

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Bowing out: At CHS, it's the principal of the thing

Less than two months after he took the top job at Charlottesville High School, new principal Aaron Bissonnette's resignation less than a week before the first day of school has sparked concern and questions.

"I was surprised," says Lisa Drake, who hopes to serve as president of the CHS Parent Teacher Organization this year. She recalls the months-long search last spring that culminated in Bissonnette's hire and says she has no information about the "personal matters" cited by Bissonnette in his August 15 letter to parents— including this reporter— and staff announcing his decision to resign, effective immediately.

"I regret to leave so soon after my arrival, and I appreciate your collective understanding in a time of need for me," Bissonnette wrote. "I will be leaving the school at the close of business today. Perhaps after these matters are taken care of, I will be able to rejoin the Charlottesville City Schools in the future."

In response, the city schools issued only a brief official statement expressing disappointment and wishing Bissonnette "the best as he attends to personal matters." Bissonnette, the statement reads, would be "welcome" back to the division in the future. There would be no further information released about the matter, said new school spokesperson Beth Cheuk in an email accompanying the statement.

So what was behind Bissonnette's decision to leave?

According to Charlottesville School Board Chair Juandiego Wade,...

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