Charlottesville Breaking News

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Oaks in East McIntire Park.

Two groups I'm involved with, the Charlottesville Tree Commission and the Charlottesville Area Tree Stewards, will celebrate Arbor Day in Forest Hill Park at 10am on April 27 by placing the city's first Landmark Tree sign on a big old Quercus alba (a white oak).
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Commentator Bill Emory puts up a new photo nearly every day at billemory.com/blog.

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Alt approach: Sons throw a change-up in Sirens

For a band rooted in tradition, Charlottesville-based alt-country act Sons of Bill have taken an unusual path to their new album and upcoming set of shows. Not only did they change their approach to writing and recording, they also found a new way to work outside the usual music label system.

The Charlottesville-based alt-country act— which features brothers James, Sam, and Abe Wilson— used the Kickstarter crowd-funding website to fund Sirens, due out March 27. It's an approach that avoids the typical business model, and band members say they were encouraged to see fans responding quickly and generously. The grassroots contributions allowed them to take their time recording the album, their first since 2009.

In a more surprising move, the group will play six free concerts in the commonwealth for its Virginia Calling tour. Seats for the Charlottesville show can be reserved with an advance purchase of the CD. The plan is somewhat reversed from the sort most acts would employ, given that ticket sales can frequently generate more revenue than album sales.

“We wanted to keep the tour free,” says vocalist/guitarist James Wilson, calling the shows “a genuine thank-you and a celebration for the home state.”

He says the band saw the arrangement less as a marketing tool and more as a way to make sure that fans could get tickets and make plans, especially with people coming from Russia and the United Kingdom to see the...

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The week in review

Biggest backlash: Culpeper Commonwealth's Attorney Gary Close abruptly resigns March 12 after a federal judge reverses a capital murder conviction against Michael Wayne Hash, citing extreme police and prosecutorial misconduct, the Star Exponent reports.

Latest in the Eddie Snead murder: Wanda Turner, the woman accused of stabbing Snead, who was found dead March 5 in his Fairway Avenue apartment, is denied bond March 7, the DP reports. Turner's record includes a 2007 cocaine possession conviction in Charlottesville Circuit Court, a 2001 unlawful wounding conviction in Fluvanna, and bad checks in 2009 in Charlottesville General District Court.

Latest in the David Cowan death: Two men charged in the February 3, 2011, shooting plead guilty to obstruction of justice and have seven other charges dismissed. Jermaine Antron Mulford and Whitmore Arnold "Weedy" Merrick, friends of Cowan, who was accidentally shot, each are sentenced to 12 months suspended, Ted Strong reports in the DP.

Worst road rage: Gordonsville resident Harold Tazewell Morris Jr., 44, rams into the back of a woman's vehicle March 5– twice– as she waits to turn left from Long Street onto High, pushing her car into the intersection, according to police. He t...

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A snowy Biltmore

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Quake casualty: Fellini's #9 welcomes new chef

 

Turns out last year's earthquake has brought us some hearty Italian food. As Fellini's #9 recently announced, they've hired new executive chef Todd Macdonald from Culpeper, whose restaurant, Chiusano's Italian Table, was destroyed in August due to the earthquake.

"Todd is bringing his special ability to cook real southern Italian food," says Fellini's #9 owner Jacie Dunkle. "His 'pasta from hell' is a real pleaser for those who like it hot."

Macdonald and his wife, Lisa, originally hail from the Boston area, where Italian food is an art form. Plus, Lisa's parents are from Italy. Chiusano's was named for the town in Italy where they grew up. Apparently, chef Macdonald makes a mean Delmonico steak with pesto and garlic sauce.

According to Dunkle, Macdonald will also be heading up a new catering service. Yes, fresh pastas and other Italian dishes ready for pick up on your way home from work.

This is good new for old fans, as Dunkle says she's already had guests from Culpeper who came because they missed Macdonald's cooking.

 

Welcome, che...

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