Charlottesville Breaking News

'Hot Air' rises: Filmmakers reach $65K, push on to Nolte

For 45 days, Derek Sieg and Jeremy Goldstein did everything they could think of to raise money to make a movie. They sold t-shirts on the Downtown Mall. They buttonholed every connection they had. And they smoked a 300-pound pig.

"That was pretty extreme," says Goldstein of the pig. "Neither one of us had ever done anything like that before."

That was phase one of their efforts to get their script, Hot Air, made into a movie. And to do so, they're convinced they need Nick Nolte to star as the personal injury lawyer and hard-partying restauranteur whose misdeeds have pushed him to the point that he decides that faking his own death is his only recourse.

A name like Nolte is essential for attracting money to the movie, say the filmmakers, so they brazenly launched their "Let's get Nick" campaign.

Using a funding-by-the masses system called Kickstarter, the filmmakers set a goal of $65,000–- the minimum required by the Screen Actors Guild to get Nick Nolte to sign on as the Hot Air lead.

With 258 different backers, Sieg (Swedish Auto) and Goldstein (Skid Row) raised $65,...

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Deck the Mall: Fancy Fleurie adds space for 22

Fleurie, the compact and upscale restaurant on the Downtown Mall's Third Street NE, will finally get its own café, as these images from May 3 indicate. The restaurant, owned by chef Brian Helleberg, won permission last December

from the powerful Board of Architectural Review to install a wooden deck just outside its front door. Designed by Zoé Edgecomb, a former Fleurie waitress-turned-architect, the 22-person deck will include tall benches and an unusual iron-and-wood wall to define the space. Facing the Paramount Theater, Fleurie has become a popular spot for theater-goers, and the semi-secluded nature of this pedestrian side street has been the site of some outdoor parties.

So when will the deck open?

"As soon as we finish it," laughs Edgecomb.

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Starsia sued: UVA lax coaches, state targeted by Love family

The family that sued George Huguely V in the death of their 22-year-old daughter has now filed a $29.4 million suit against the lacrosse coaches who reportedly missed key signals that they had a violent man on their team.

The suit, filed May 1 in Louisa County Circuit Court, names University of Virginia's head lacrosse coach, Dom Starsia, along with assistant coach Marc Van Arsdale, athletic director Craig Littlepage, and the Commonwealth of Virginia and comes in the wake of the 2010 beating death of Yeardley Love. Why the coaches were sued in a rural and earthquake-scarred county east of Charlottesville could not be immediately learned, and telephone messages left with the UVA Athletic Department and with the Love family attorney were not immediately returned.

Hook legal analyst David Heilberg suggests one possibility for the venue. While rural populations are often conservative in their social beliefs, Heilberg says that Louisa is liberal in another regard.

"A Louisa jury is very generous," says Heilberg, who says he's seen larger than expected awards given in that county, particularly for...

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Get a room: Bad weather doesn't slow Foxfield revelry

Fake IDs, underage drinking, and public drunkenness– the usual suspects at the Foxfield Races– were undeterred by a cold and rainy Saturday, April 28. Nor were the couple caught having sex behind a bus.

The 61 arrests this year slightly exceeded last year's 55, and most seemed to involve alcohol, except for one pot charge. An indecent exposure arrest turned out to be an incorrectly charged public urination, according to Albemarle police spokesman Darrell Byers. Urinating in public, while still illegal, will keep the offender off the sex offenders registry.

One young man drew police scrutiny from his photographic activity.

"We were called in to look at a situation of a guy talking pictures on his cellphone," says Byers. "I think he was taking pictures of people urinating." No charges there, because photographing acts that occur in a public place is not illegal, explains Byers.

And once on the road, the 37 summons issued were mostly inspection and seatbelt violations, according to a county police release.

Albemarle police teamed up with the Albemarle Sheriff's Office, Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control, and Virginia State Police to keep the Orange section, where UVA students congregate, from getting out of control.

"When you consider there's approximately 10,000 students in the Orange section, that's a small percentage," says Foxfield president Benjamin Dick of this year's arrests.

As for Dick, he's seen worse. "...

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Johnson's journey: Parkway chase ends in naked capture

An early Wednesday police chase on the Blue Ridge Parkway ended with a crashed-and-burned sport utility vehicle and a driver who, by the time a canine team caught up with him, had ditched his clothes.

Police say the trouble started around 6:46am on May 2 in Augusta County. A Virginia State trooper allegedly began trying to stop Trevis H. Johnson, 28, of Charlottesville, for speeding and then eluding arrest on Mt. Torrey Road.

Johnson, driving a 2004 Ford Explorer, allegedly continued south to the Blue Ridge Parkway, a winding mountain-top road favored by cyclists and sightseers. Police say Johnson barely made it a quarter mile before the Explorer ran off the road, hit an embankment, and rolled onto its driver's side.

Climbing out of the passenger window around 6:52am, Johnson fled on foot into the woods, according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller, who says the Explorer burst into flames, so pursuing Senior Trooper D.C. Brydge put out the fire with an extinguisher– twice.

"He didn't pursue on foot," explains Geller, "because he had to make sure no one was in the car."

Next up was the Augusta Sheriff's canine team, called in to track Johnson in an area of "pretty rugged terrain," says Geller.

By 10:45am, about two miles away and close to the popular Crabtree Falls hiking area in Nelson County, pursuers captured Johnson, who was completely naked. Asked why Johnson might have shed his clothing, spokesperson Ge...

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