Charlottesville Breaking News

Day 3: photos of Huguely trial

Photographs from outside the Charlottesville Circuit Court on the morning of Wednesday, February 8. The trial entered its third day with opening arguments from the defense and the prosecution.

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ABC superteen: How an underage agent took down Kroger

For many restaurants and bars, the prospect of a visit by undercover ABC agents is a constant fear. A single alcohol violation could trigger temporary loss of a liquor license with devastating financial implications for a small business; multiple violations can, quite literally, spell the end of a livelihood. But what happens when the country's biggest grocery store chain is targeted by ABC?

On January 3, shoppers at the Barracks Road Kroger found out. Anyone eager for a bottle of vino or a six-pack of suds arrived to find the store's extensive alcohol offerings unavailable. Black-plastic-covered plywood surrounded the massive wine department; the beer shelves were similarly blocked. Signs posted by management apologized to customers and suggested they make alcohol purchases at Kroger's two other Charlottesville locations but offered no explanation for the three-day dry spell. It involved a superteen.

"The date of the violation was November 2; the charge was selling to underage," reveals Virginia ABC spokesperson Rebecca Gettings, who says the store's infraction was selling a single 24-ounce can of Bud Light to an 18-year-old.

Unfortunately for Kroger, America's largest supermarket chain, this particular 18-year-old wasn't the average buzz-seeking teen. It was an underage operative, a being so powerful he or she is able to turn a single $3 purchase into thousands of dollars in fines and lost sales in a single bound.

According to another ABC spok...

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Huguely trial: Jury pool narrowed

Day 2 of jury selection in the trial of George Huguely ended with 27 candidates to serve out of the pool of 160 citizens called– enough to set the jury when court resumes Wednesday morning.

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Huguely on trial: Slimmer-- as analyst describes his chances

A jury selection in the first-degree murder trial of George Huguely V began Monday, February 6. The Hook's legal analyst, besides noting that this is the biggest career moment for the lawyers involved, ventured a guess that the 24-year-old defendant won't leave court a free man. More on that below.

While the jury selection process wasn't set to start until 9:30am, Huguely bypassed the phalanx of media by arriving well before then in a law enforcement van. Also arriving long before session were the mother and sister of slain lacrosse player Yeardley Love, dropped off in the back parking lot of the Charlottesville Circuit Courthouse.

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Big chill: Biscuit Run presaged Wintergreen money mess

A pile of debt, another warm winter, and the state's unwillingness to accept a dead appraiser's valuation for millions in already-spent conservation tax credits have pushed the company running Wintergreen Resort to the brink of insolvency, as reported Monday morning in the Nelson County Times.

Despite– in a deal reminiscent of Biscuit Run– scooping up $4.6 million from taxpayers four years ago, Wintergreen Partners Inc. has reportedly defaulted on its loan from Bank of America and now implores members to voluntarily lend it $6 million to save the company from bankruptcy.

Another shocker is that Wintergreen joins a host of Virginians in parlaying empty land into cash, part of Virginia's generous conservation tax credit scheme that transfers over $100 million a year from taxpayers to owners of large tracts. The scheme is the centerpiece of ongoing litigation between the state and a team of land speculators who failed to convert an Albemarle tract called Biscuit Run into a housing development.

At Wintergreen, a company subsidiary found an appraiser willing to claim in 2008 that the 1,422-acre peak called Crawford's Knob was worth $11.5 million. Like the owners of Biscuit Run, Wintergreen turned that valuation into s...

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