Charlottesville Breaking News

The benefits of getting clean?

3/28/12

Albemarle

Matthew A. & Cynthia S. Guch to Marty W. & Tara E. Fontenot, 287 Starcrest Road, $350,000

Ella J. Bullard to W .D. A. Carpenter, 1555 Gray Fox Trail, $357,000

Grace H. & William F. Hall, III to Anjali A. Acharekar, 3534 Devon Pines, $500,000

SHR9 LLC to Kok Chin Cheng,  Pung Lee Loh, Albert S. Lee & Tsiao Hui Cheng, .16 Acres, TM 62G-1-5A-137, $505,473

Alison M. Tulud to Ginger Grimes, 101 Overlook Drive, $290,000

Old Trail Creekside III LLC to Bruce & Marina Anderson, 6939 Windmere Lane, $593,287

Charlottesville

Michael Klopf to Kevin M. Cwalina, 904 Montrose Avenue, $225,000

Sonabank to Shilshole Properties LLC, 1401 Emmet Street, $499,000

J.P. Morgan Mortgage Trust & US Bank National Association to Jean M. Thorburn, 1120 Meriwether Street, $189,059

3/29/12

Albemarle

Federal National Mortgage Association to Jeremi Rimel, 16 Woodlake Drive, $84,900

Lupos LLC to Kourtney S. Dudley, 1315 Villa Way, Unit D, $119,900

Boston University, Trustees, to Donald A. & Anna L. Marsh, 142 West Park Drive, $144,000

June M. & John R. Sullivan to Matthew Gibson & Jessica L. Baber, 1534 Ballard Drive, $188,000

First Horizon Home Loans to Edgar A. Pierce, 25 Churchill Lane, $215,000

David L. & Donit...

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Marvelous mediocrity: Whedon meets expectations with more of the same

One of the weapons Marvel used in its climb to comic book dominance was a willingness to invent new characters at a dizzying speed. There are so many Marvel universes, indeed, that some superheroes do not even exist in each other's worlds, preventing gridlock. The Avengers, however, do share the same time and space continuum, although in recent years they've been treated in separate single-superhero movies. One assumes the idle Avengers follow the exploits of the employed ones on the news.

The Avengers, much awaited by Marvel Comics fans, assembles all of the Avengers in one film– Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye. This is like an All Star Game, or the chef's sampling menu at a fancy restaurant. What always strikes me is how different their superpowers are. Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) is just an ordinary guy until he's wearing his super-suit. Thor (Chris Hemsworth) swings a mighty hammer. Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) wields a bow with arrows so powerful they can bring down alien spacecraft. The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) is a mild-mannered guy until he gets angry, and then he expands into a leaping, bounding green muscleman who can ri...

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Jason's Deli: Unblanking a wall, chain readies for August opening

A representative for Jason's Deli stood before the County Architectural Review Board on Monday, May 7, hoping to hammer out details concerning the exterior renovation of the old 5,900-square-foot Raggazi's building in Shoppers World on 29 North.

Last October, Ragazzi's Italian Restaurant closed after over a decade of serving up the "taste of Italy... without the passport," as their slogan said, and there was speculation that a Jason's Deli, the Beaumont, Texas-based chain known for offering healthy food that's free of transfats, MSG, and high-fructose corn syrup, would move in. Then, in March, a Shoppers World tenant list (released when fashion retail chain Stein Mart and designer shoe warehouse store DSW went before this Board) confirmed that Jason's Deli was part of the new mix.

At issue at the ARB meeting: how to make the building less darkly cavernous as Raggazi's had been, and how to make a blank, north-facing wall less, well, blank. The regional manager for Jason's, Alex Williams, who admitted he was a novice at facing architectural boards, proposed putting large photos of food on the blank wall.

While ARB member Charles Lebo said he'd recently visited a Jason's Deli and ate...

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Land fill: City selling 3.5 acres on Elliott for $10

In a city where downtown land routinely sells for millions per acre, there's a near-downtown tract that's poised for sale for just $2.85 an acre. No, that's not a typo. But is it a giveaway? Depends on who you ask.

On Monday, May 7, Charlottesville City Council gave final approval for an ordinance allowing the sale of a piece of long-held City land to a team consisting of non-profit Habitat for Humanity and for-profit Southern Development. For a 3.5-acre tract lying just a half a mile south of the Downtown Mall, the buyers will pay $10.

"These are the sorts of games that go on in City Hall," says Rob Schilling, a radio talk show host. "The taxpayers are getting stiffed."

City Hall officials, however, characterize this as a quest to better the city and house the poor. They note that the land– just east of Ridge Street on Elliott Avenue– is currently empty and that the deal before City Council (which took its first vote April 16) came about only after an RFP.

Moreover, it turns out that there was actually a losing offer in this quest for the parcel and that when the proposals were opened in December the losing team offered to pay more but demanded the right to balance its payments by whatever it cost to clean up the property, which had been operated as some sort of landfill. In the event the clean-up cost more than half a million, the losing group– which included former mayor Blake Caravati and former City Council conten...

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Smoke signals: Council passes part of pot resolution

City Council passed a resolution to ask the General Assembly to revisit marijuana laws and give consideration to decriminalization in a 3-2 vote Monday night, but backed off the rest of a measure that would have made enforcement of pot possession a low priority for police.

In a packed Council chamber, judging from applause levels, it appeared supporters of the resolution were in the majority, but the first six citizens to speak about the issue opposed it. One cited an addiction to pot for 17 years. Former Jefferson Area Tea Party chair Carol Thorpe urged councilors to support police and leave enforcement to the professionals– rather than instructing police Chief Tim Longo to not enforce the law as they did with Occupy Charlottesville protesters in Lee Park.

And city resident Naomi Roberts declared, "Charlottesville will become the city of potheads and bring more drug lords."

Civil rights attorney Jeffrey Fogel called the war on drugs "a massive and colossal failure," and suggested an ordinance in which Council prohibited the use of pot– and made sure no one goes to jail if convicted.

City Manager Maurice Jones pointed out that of 5,040 arrests police made last year, 113 of them were for marijuana possession.

"We don't spend a lot of resources on enforcing possession laws," Police Chief Tim Longo told the councilors, but said that wasn't a conscious prioritization.

His concerns were as a parent, and he cited a recent...

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Editor's Note