Charlottesville Breaking News

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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American picker: Renaissance man Martin to play Pavilion

Local news outlets seem to have ignored Monday's press release about an impending Charlottesville concert by a musical act called Steve Martin and the Steep Canyon Rangers. It's may not always be big news when there's a guy named Steve Martin fronting a bluegrass band.

But this happens to be the Steve Martin. Yeah, the wild-and-crazy comedian, the screenwriter, the New Yorker humorist, the actor, the novelist and memoirist.

It should come as no surprise since his virtuoso banjo skills were part of that very first comedy album, Let's Get Small, from 1977. Flash forward 35 years, and Martin's still honing his musical skills. He's partnering with a North Carolina-based quintet, renowned in its own right.

The combo has announced they'll be playing June 2 the nTelos Wireless Pavilion in support of their album, Rare Bird Alert, a #1-selling bluegrass disc and Grammy nominee. The downtown event is billed as "an evening of bluegrass and comedy" with seats ranging from $35 to $69. Tickets go on sale March 16.

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Best o' the book fest: May we suggest...?

March means bibliophilia in Charlottesville. That's how much of an institution the Virginia Festival of the Book has become as it readies for its 18th annual book-athon.

Whether your interests are hoarding, after-life experiences, or serial bad relationships, the March 21-25 fest with 222 events and nearly 400 participants is likely to have the proverbial something for everyone.

Browsing the festival schedule to come up with 10 recommendations, the Hook somehow ended up with nearly 30 items in its book bag.

You can forget the mystery luncheon with Jeffrey Deaver—that one's already sold out. And tickets are pretty much guaranteed to be gone for the festival luncheon with University of Richmond president/History Guy Ed Ayers, which takes place on March 22.

Here's a smattering of events we'd like to see, but there are many, many more for you to tailor to your own taste.

Fighting for Civil Rights through Education and War
Stephanie Deutsch covers the educational route with her book, Booker T. Washington, Julius Rosenwald...

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Editor's Note