Charlottesville Breaking News

Unlawful assembly? Capitol steps arrests raise key questions

You can eat lunch on the steps of the Capitol, but you can't protest there.

Photos of gun-equipped riot officers massed at the seat of state government and arresting 30 protesters– mostly women– have sparked a debate about the official response, which may have included up to seven hours of incarceration. The March 3 Richmond incident followed passage of the controversial bill requiring a pre-abortion ultrasound exam.

"The protesters seemed to be very peaceful," says House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-Charlottesville). "When you see weapons on the grounds of the Capitol, you have to wonder whether it's proportional."

Toscano fired off a letter to the Capitol Police asking for a review of protocols, noting that "the images of armed State Police in full riot gear removing Virginia citizens from the Capitol steps is troubling to many of our constituents and potentially places Virginia unfavorably in the national spotlight....

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Chipping away: True confessions of a juicer

Remember the chipper scene from Fargo? Frances McDormand is a cop investigating a homicide when she comes upon a man who is feeding, we are to believe, Steve Buscemi’s leg into a wood chipper.

In recent days, this scene came to mind over and over again. Every time I picked up a long, thick stalk of celery or a beefy carrot and fed it into my juice-making machine, the ear-splitting whine of the Juiceman– and my hand on the stalk, pushing insistently downward– called forth the chipper and Buscemi’s sock-footed leg.

This is what happens when a happy carnivore goes cold turkey vegan. Now, I have absolutely no moral or philosophical reason for becoming a vegan. I just want to be skinny. And so, I went on a juice fast.

Nothing but homemade fruit and vegetable juices: nothing to chew, no animal products whatsoever. I wanted to see how long I could stand it, and how many of those extra pounds I could lose.

If you’re wondering how anyone could be persuaded to do this, then you have not seen the documentary that I saw: Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead.

It was made by an Australian, Joe Cross. He started out as one of those guys who look like they’re in their third trimester– with a burdensome, protuberant belly. He was, in his estimation, fat, sick, and nearly dead, with all signs pointing...

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Standing tall: Belmont townhouse offers light and more

Address: 213 Spruce Street, Charlottesville          
Neighborhood: Carlton/Belmont
Asking: $374,900
Assessment: $289,200
Year Built: 2007
Size: 1,840 fin. sq. ft  600 unfinished
Land: 0.10
Agent: Roger Voisinet, Re/Max Realty Specialists 434-974-1500
Curb Appeal: 7 out of 10

Fewer than 20 years ago, people were investing in “emerging” areas surrounding the revitalized downtown Charlottesville rather than crossing the bridge to Belmont. With a few ma & pa businesses, car mechanics, and Spudnuts, there wasn’t a lot to draw new residents— except affordability. Enter entrepreneur Coran Capshaw, who ventured into Belmont in 2003 and bought Mas barely a year after an attractive young couple began exposing patrons to an edgy, bare-bones nightspot with great food. Others soon followed suit, and The Happy Stripper made way for trendy eateries like The Local and Tavola.

The Belmont Lofts were constructed at that same time, adding density and metropolitan chic to the hub. The increased foot...

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Stressed and out: City spokesman resigns after bid-rigging investigation

Rob Schilling has long railed against an allegedly fortress-like atmosphere in City Hall, one that allegedly kept him in the dark even while an elected member of City Council. But, on March 21, less than two hours after a Schilling exposé revealed an improper contract award, a well-known head rolled. Citing "stress," city spokesperson Ric Barrick said he had resigned.

"I'm frankly troubled," says Schilling, "Who knows what else is going on?"

What may be known as Barrickgate was uncovered by Schilling, a self-styled watchdog and WINA radio talk show host, whose investigation began in 2010 with a Freedom of Information Act request for a week of Barrick's emails.

"I realized it was serious, and I didn't want to take it lightly," says Schilling. "That's why I took over a year to investigate it. I understood it could be detrimental to Ric Barrick."

Indeed, it turned into a criminal investigation. But the investigator, Orange-based special prosecutor Diana Wheeler, found no criminal intent– just an effort to work with a vendor who, Barrick asserted to her, provided the best graphics services for the city's TV10 cable access channel.

"There were questionable actions, some less than satisfactory answers to certain questions asked, and some apparent violations of rules and practices," th...

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Holy wars: Then, now, and Iran

By Tony Perrino
Warfare is as old as humanity. Since the beginning of civilization, people have fought one another, justifying their aggression as a matter of survival. But the most vicious wars have been those fought in the name of religion.
One of the early manifestations of a holy war mentality was exhibited by Christians in the so-called Crusades. Lasting from the eleventh until the fourteenth century and depicted as a glorious adventure of noble knights, the Crusades were actually a grisly business.

Setting out from France under the banner of the Cross, those righteous warriors began by beating Jews and burning their synagogues. Then they marched across Europe, plundering their way to Jerusalem. On July 15, 1095, they entered that holy city, knelt before the tomb of Jesus, and then proceeded to slaughter every Moslem they could find until the Via Dolorosa, where Jesus had borne the cross, was flowing with blood.
This butchery was justified on the grounds that these unbelievers desecrated the Holy Land by their very presence. They represented the “anti-Christ” of Biblical prediction, which would rise up and destroy the world, if they were not themselves exterminated.
The next great religious war was fought among Christians themselves. Again, our history books depict the Reformation as a polite theological debate. But it launched...

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