Charlottesville Breaking News

Gone global: Hunter and his World Peace game soar

If there were a competition for the most modest man in Charlottesville, teacher and World Peace Game creator John Hunter and local filmmaker Chris Farina would be neck-and-neck for the prize.

"I'm just along for the ride," says Farina, who produced and directed the 2010 film World Peace and Other Fourth Grade Achievements, a documentary about the complex game Hunter developed over his three decades teaching and which has taken the two men on a wild ride around the globe where the film has screened for world leaders and thousands of educators.

"This is all about John," Farina insists. 

"This has nothing to do with me," insists Hunter, who believes the game he created, which puts children in positions of world leaders facing complex problems including famine and war, taps into a common desire most humans share: to find ways to get along even with those who are very different.

"It's something that's in all of us," he says.

Sorry, guys, but someone's going to have to take credit for what's happened over the past two years, since the film premiered at the South by Southwest Film Festival in March 2010 after previewing the previous month in Charlottesville at the Paramount Theater.

In addition to traveling to a half dozen countries since those first screenings, the film– and Hunter as a speaker– have found audiences in some lofty places. H...

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Overcharged? Capitol protesters weigh community service deal

A Richmond prosecutor has dropped the unlawful assembly charge against 30 protesters arrested last month on the steps of the state Capitol and offered a community service deal that would ultimately expunge a trespassing charge for those who were hauled off after objecting to ultrasound legislation.

"It was going to be difficult to prove certain elements in the unlawful assembly charge," says Richmond Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney Colette McEachin.

Indeed, Virginia Code defines unlawful assembly as three or more people gathering with the intent to commit "unlawful acts" and "violence" and who provoke "well-grounded fear of serious and immediate breaches of public safety."

"We weren't...

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Growing trend: Zynodoa puts the farm on the table

There's a growing trend, literally, among chefs and restaurant owners to source food from their own gardens and small farms, but few seem to be embracing that idea quite like Zynodoa in Staunton.

Dish had a chance recently to chat with owner Jeff Goode, who founded the restaurant with his wife Susan about five years ago, and to meet and eat the food of their relatively new chef James Harris.

The Goodes own a 50-acre farm in nearby Swoope, where they have two large gardens and raise ducks and hens, which supplies Harris with fresh eggs, potatoes, squash, peppers, tomatoes, and an assortment of herbs and other produce that he uses to create unique farm-to-table cuisine.

"I've lived all over the country," says Harris, who grew up in San Diego and formerly served as kitchen manager at the word-class Inn at Little Washington, "and I'll put Virginia growers before anyone in the country."

The Goodes' farm and gardens represent about 10 percent of the 80 percent of locally-sourced food on the menu, so Harris knows his way around the local farm scene. And he's constantly impressed.

"You can tell they work themselves ragged," Harris says of Virginia growers, "but you can tell they are happy. There's really a special thing going on here."

Ironically, one of the area's most successful farm-to-table rest...

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American garden: Peter Hatch and the restoration of Jefferson's landscape

Peter Hatch is all over the place this month. He's in Washington to help First Lady Michelle Obama plant the White House vegetable garden, he's in San Francisco for a Gardening Conservancy symposium, and look, there he is in this month's Garden & Gun.

Hatch's popularity isn't sudden– for nearly 35 years he's run the gardens and grounds of Monticello. But with his new book and his impending retirement from the World Heritage site upon whose grounds he's put his own stamp, Hatch is even more in demand these days.

Hatch, who soon turns 63, has witnessed not only the origins of the American garden, but also the emergence of Monticello as a leading center for historic research.

"It's been fascinating to see it evolve from a mom-and-pop organization," says Hatch, settling in for yet another interview in the tiny pavilion in the middle of the thousand-foot stretch of terrace that Jefferson constructed and Hatch reconstructed.

For Michigan-born Hatch, who attended the same prep school as Mitt Romney and earned an English degree from the University of North Carolina, that path to the mountaintop was not obvious. After graduation, he assumed he'd be teaching high school English and coaching hockey.

"I was staying with a friend in Massachusetts who was talking about the joys of organic gardening," says Hatch who returned to Chapel Hill, tilled some soil, and studied landscape gardening at a...

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A time to sentence: Huguely fate to be finalized August 30

During a brief but at times testy 25-minute hearing in Charlottesville Circuit Court, convicted murderer George W. Huguely V, received a sentencing date of 1pm on August 30. Huguely, convicted in late-February for the 2010 beating death of former girlfriend Yeardley Love, was not present for the April 16 proceedings.

"I've got a three-week, multimillion-dollar civil case," exclaimed Judge Edward Hogshire, explaining why he was unavailable for most of July to hear arguments in motions to overturn the conviction. The motions, however, have not been filed, and led to further upset from the judge.

"Typically, these motions are filed the day after the trial," said Hogshire. "I haven't gotten a motion yet."

Defense counsel explained that part of the delay stemmed from the unavailability of a complete record of the February trial which stretched over parts of three weeks.

"Having a finished transcript," said co-counsel for the defense, Rhonda Quagliana, "is vital."

"You're very familiar with the case," the judge shot back. "You know what parts are vital."

The judge set dates in June and July to argue the to-be-filed defense motions. He also set a hearing for this Thursday the 19th of April to hear motions from Robert Yates, a lawyer representing several media o...

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