Charlottesville Breaking News

Ending homelessness: Residents cheer The Crossings

Does Charlottesville have its own "Million Dollar Murray?" A Malcolm Gladwell-penned piece for New Yorker magazine details the seemingly paradoxical ways in which communities save money by providing the chronically homeless with an essentially free place to live, and the grand opening of The Crossings, a 60-unit residential dwelling, marks an effort to do that locally.

"All of us like to have a place to call home," said Charlottesville Mayor Satyendra Huja, who was among several officials to address the crowd at the April 10 dedication ceremony after which several residents welcomed reporters into their new homes.

"I'm still getting used to it," says Karen Martin, 50, who became homeless six years ago after losing her job at McDonald's and, subsequently, her home. A triple bypass surgery-spurring heart condition in 2010 may have pushed Martin to the top of the list of incoming homeless residents, who now number 20, with 10 more more slated to arrive. Thirty market-rate efficiencies will also be rented.

"Instead of thinking of mys...

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Charles Martin: Former Albemarle supervisor dies Tuesday

Charles S. Martin, who served three terms on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and was its first African-American chairman, died at home early April 10 from prostate cancer.

Martin, 57, was on the Board of Supervisors from 1992 to 2003, representing the Rivanna District, and was chair from 1999 to 2000. Before that, he sat on the Albemarle School Board. In 2001, he lost a race for the House of Delegates 58th District, a seat still held by Rob Bell.

Martin attended the University of Virginia on a DuPont scholarship, according to his friend, Dave Bruton, and graduated with degrees in sociology and government. He worked as a juvenile probation officer and was an active member of the Democratic Party.

He was a founder of SARA– the Sexual Assault Resource Agency. "He pushed through many things for women," recalls Bruton.

Martin later headed an organization called Urban Vision, which was geared toward getting people off welfare and into the workforce, says Bruton.

He was diagnosed with Stage 4 prostate cancer four years ago, says Bruton, who remembers Martin saying, "Dave, prostate cancer is one of the most curable cancers, and I'm dying from it." In a recent Martha Jefferson publication, Martin urged men to get annual physicals including the prostate screening test.

Martin grew up in Patrick County, and will be buried in Martinsv...

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Horn freed: Ex-County officer pleads guilty to assault

A former County police officer accused of rape has pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault and battery of an adult family member.

Sean M. Horn, 42, who was most recently a reserve deputy with the Albemarle County Sheriff's Office, was arrested January 5 and charged with an alleged November 2011 rape of an adult family member.

Horn accepted a plea agreement Monday, April 9 in Albemarle County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, pleading guilty to the assault and battery charge. According to Albemarle County Commonwealth's Attorney Denise Lunsford, Horn received a 12-month sentence, all suspended, along with one-year of supervision, during which  Horn is to address issues related to the charge.  

"The Commonwealth stands by the allegations contained in the original charge," Lunsford says in an email. "In cases of sexual assault up to and including rape, however, the Commonwealth is guided in large part by the desires of the victim."

According to Lunsford, the adult victim was "fully prepared" to move forward with the original charge, but decided to resolve the matter without going to trial.

"Her motivations for doing so were many, entirely appropriate, and fully supported by the Commonwealth," says Lunsford.

Hook legal analyst David Heilberg suspects there may have been some cred...

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Tom Tom beat: McGuffey block party kicks off month-long fest

Paul Beyer's ambitious vision for Charlottesville's own South by Southwest– the Tom Tom Founders Festival– debuts April 13, a kick-off to 30 days of music, art, and innovation on Thomas Jefferson's birthday, a date celebrated by both the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Foundation as "Founder's Day."

The street in front of McGuffey Art Center will be blocked off for the Friday-night block party, and 13 bands are lined up, including Chihamba, Beleza Brasil, and Invisible Hand.

With traditional street-food vendors, beer, and wine, the gala is outside from 5 to 8pm, and then it moves inside into three different McGuffey studios.

"All these different genres– punk, jazz, rock, funk, spoken word– will be playing at the same time," says Beyer, noting that the music is free.

"We wanted to kick off at McGuffey because it's a central art space," says Beyer. "One of the themes of Tom Tom is overlooked and under-appreciated assets. Here's a chance to see music where you don't normally see it. McGuffey hasn't been used that way fully."

Tom Tom's Music Festival weekend will come a month later, May 11-13, and also will utilize spaces not typically seen as music venues: Main Street Arena, the Haven, and Christ Episcopal Church's gothic-styled Meade Ha...

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Super 'Tramp': Van Etten laughs a lot more than you'd think

"I’m not trying to fancy things up too much," says Sharon Van Etten with a laugh. “I’m just a girl in a sweater and jeans playing songs with my friends."

It’s a humble understatement for a woman who recently deflected attention away from the mighty return of Fiona Apple and the dexterous Andrew Bird at a recent SXSW NPR showcase. Since her bare bones debut Because I Was In Love surfaced in 2009, listeners have cheered on the nice girl who in spite of being told she wasn’t good enough by an ex, soldiered on and made beautiful, broken songs.

Sans a label-generated aesthetic, the Brooklyn artist has relied on little more than authenticity to gain an audience. Her songs are carefully constructed with close attention paid to melody and honest emotion that trumps songwriters who spew hyperbolic words. Van Etten admits to being “a total goofball,” but the critical consensus is that her third album Tramp showcases a mature and confident front woman

The Hook: You write intimate songs in first-person. Have you ever considered channeling those same feelings through characters to protect yourself?
Sharon Van Etten: It’s definitely something that I need to work on. I actually do writing exercises now to get out of the habit of saying “I” and “you.” I’m also listening to a lot more storytellers, like Nick Cave. He is really good at creating that di...

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