Charlottesville Breaking News

Suffrage's legacy: It's time for women to step up

By Kay Slaughter

Walking down a narrow alley through a sea of men, desks and typewriters, amid the clouds of cigarette smoke, I spot a small clutch of women to my left— in an area segregated from the sprawl of the city room of the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Patriot-News.   

Fresh out of college, I report for my first day in the women’s department, meeting Carol and Judy, two colleagues my age, as well as four other women in their 40s.  The boss arrives, and I discover the women’s pages are headed by a man.

No women in the pool of reporters, on the copy desk, or in the editorial department.  In the early 1960s, I wasn’t surprised: that’s the way things were. I was glad to have a job and dug into my assignments.
 
That summer, I wrote a story on Women’s Suffrage Day about the women who had marched for the right to vote.  I thought then that the main obstacles to women’s equality were past: We women had the vote, were educated, and could find jobs.  What more could we want?

A few years later, I began to have questions. Married with two children under two, I’m reading Betty Friedan’s The Feminine Mystique between washing diapers and carting my kids to the playground. Despite my enjoyment of the babies, I miss work. 
 
In retrospect, my own mother had it tougher than I— her college career ended abruptly with the death of her father,...

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Library with a view: Crozet's new bibliothèque de luxe

Years in the works before ground was ever broken— and funding found— the new Crozet Library is set to open in a few weeks, and Jefferson Madison Regional Director John Halliday gave the Hook a sneak preview of the brick, stone, wood, and glass facility that's destined to be the town's community center.

One reason we can predict that: its size. At 23,000 square feet, it's one of the largest structures in Crozet, and with its conference rooms and multiple meeting rooms that can be reserved by the public for free, even the Hook may be scheduling a meeting there.

Critics are already questioning why a small town such as Crozet needs the 18,000-square-foot library space that occupies the main floor, especially after making do for decades with the current 1,728-square-foot train station. Halliday is ready for that one, and explains that Virginia has standards for libraries. "This one just meets the state's minimum standards for the population it serves," he says. "It seems huge, but it really isn't."

Inside the tiled two-story atrium, Halliday notes that the county got a good deal for the $5.8-million LEED structure by bidding it out during the recession. However, everything inside must be paid for from fundraising. So far, library lovers have donated over $900,000 to furnish, equip, and stock the shelves with books. Among the most generous supporters, the Dave Matthews Band's Bama Works, the Perry Foundation, and Friends of the Library...

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The week in review

Worst rash of muggings: A 21-year-old man is robbed around 2am August 15 at 15th Street NW and Sadler Street, according to a release. The suspects are described as two black males about six feet tall in their 20s. The Newsplex reports that two men are robbed at gunpoint around 9:45pm August 18 in the 200-block of West Main by a suspect described as a black male, 5'9" tall, wearing dark clothing. Those follow three muggings over the previous weekend downtown.

Worst first day of school for a new principal: Fluvanna County Middle School's Yardley Farquharson ignites a firestorm when her new charges accuse her of yelling at them. Angry parents leap into the fray with accusations of bullying and an online petition demanding her head. By an August 15 meeting with parents, the outrage simmers down and most agree to move on, the Daily Progress reports.

Most armed robbery arrests: Shaquille Webb, 19, Anthony Milton, 23, and Dandre Tinsley, 24, are arrested for the August 9 robbery of the BP station on Fontaine Avenue, the Newsplex reports.

Most confused competency: A judge delays deciding whether accused triple slayer Rashad Riddick is competent to stand trial for t...

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Scant evidence? Prosecutors trump Taylor's request for open hearing

Anyone hoping to get more information about the evidence prosecutors might be mustering against abduction suspect Randy Allen Taylor would likely feel disappointed after an August 20 ruling closing Taylor's upcoming bond hearing to citizens and media clamoring to learn more about the disappearance of Nelson County teen Alexis Tiara Murphy.

Hook legal analyst David Heilberg, however, says he's not surprised that prosecutors in a small community like Nelson, whose population stands below 15,000, would try to shield their hand.

"How are you ever going to get a jury together if they know everything there is to know about the case in any sensationalized way?" Heilberg asks of the case that has also drawn widespread national attention.

Taylor, a 48-year-old Lovingston resident, was arrested August 11 and charged with abduction in the disappearance of 17-year-old Murphy. By his own months-earlier admission, Taylor is also considered a suspect in the disappearance of another teen, Orange County resident Samantha Ann Clark, who vanished in 2010, on a night when Taylor had repeatedly contacted her by telephone.

In the recent case, investigators have revealed little of the evidence that formed the basis for the arrest, and the warrants have been sealed. Through his attorney, Taylor has indicated he was told by investigators that they'd found a single hair belonging to Murphy in his trailer. His assertions admit that while he did see Murphy...

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Who shot Greg Rosson? ID of police officer still secret

August 16 was Gregory Rosson's 22nd birthday. His family brought flowers, his two dogs, and sang "Happy Birthday" to him— at Prize Hill Cemetery in Boonesville, where he was buried June 14. They also planned a bonfire because that's what he'd said he wanted before he died.

 

More than two months since Rosson was shot by an Albemarle police officer, questions remain for his family about the June 8 slaying, including the identity of the officer who killed him, and what the circumstances were that required lethal force. They also cite inconsistencies in the Virginia State Police press release issued following Rosson's death and information in the search warrant issued just hours after the shooting.

According to the state police press release, a 911 call was p...

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