Charlottesville Breaking News
Best street theater: The 17 Occupy Charlottesville protesters arrested December 1 for trespassing in Lee Park are found guilty in court January 27. Veronica Fitzhugh, who was charged with indecent exposure when she took off her clothes, shows up at General District Court wearing an orange jumpsuit, handcuffs, and black-face makeup to protest the high number of African Americans in prison. She's found not guilty of indecent exposure.
Best sign housing prices haven't recovered:
Charlottesville reports a 3.08 percent decline in residential
assessments and an 0.84 percent drop in existing commercial
Biggest blow to zoning: The Virginia Supreme Court rules January 13 that planning commissions don't have the authority to grant waivers in a case brought by Albemarle resident Kent Sinclair, who sued Cingular and the county over a waiver granted for a 103-foot cell tower adjacent to his property, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports.
Biggest investment: RelayFoods.com gets a $3.1 million capital influx from Battery Ventures, an investment firm out of Massacusetts. Bryan McKenzie has the story in the Progress.
Biggest UVA critic: The Price is Right host Bob Barker writes UVA president Teresa Sullivan asking the university to stop using cats to train med students to insert breathing tubes in infants, Ted S...
News about the sudden closing of St. Maarten Café on the Corner, the place with the Buffett vibe (Jimmy, not Warren) long before Cheeseburger in Paradise, spread like wildfire on social media websites.
"I was totally overloaded," says Lisa Roland, wife of owner Jim Roland, after a reporter called January 30 to verify the news. "My computer is going crazy, my phone is ringing. But, yes, St. Maarten Café is closed."
A Friends of St. Maarten Café Facebook group immediately grabbed 200 members– over 350 by 6pm on the day this news was reported at readthehook.com– and some of those commenting describe bursting into tears at hearing the news. Long-time patron Marianne Votaw, who says she first started visiting the restaurant in 1985, the year it opened, says she plans to organize a vigil outside the building on Tuesday night.
"Are you kidding me?" Roland laughs. "We knew this was going to be big news, but it's been bigger than we thought it would be."
Roland says her husband prefers not to talk about the reasons for the sudden closure. After 26 years, she says, "it's just too tough right now." However, he did post a comment on the restaurant's Facebook page: "A big thank you for your...