Charlottesville Breaking News

Final motions: Judge allows graphic photos in Huguely trial

In anticipation of the largest murder trial Charlottesville has seen, a final hearing was held on Friday, with attorneys for accused girlfriend-killer George Huguely unsuccessful in keeping what they called "prejudicial" photos of slain UVA student Yeardley Love from being admitted as evidence. They were, however, able to prevent news photographers from getting perp-walk photos of Huguely as he moves in and out of the courthouse, at least while the jury is being chosen.

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Two Parrots: Lazy for BBQ joins Lazy for wings

When the Lazy Parrot Grill folks took over the former Brix Café space at the Pantops Shopping Center earlier this year, owner Kevin Kirby worried that some people might think the Lazy Parrot Grill, also in Pantops, had moved.

"We were just spreading our wings," he explains.

The Lazy Parrot Backyard BBQ now in the former Brix space may share the Lazy Parrot name– which Kirby has trademarked– but the two places are not, well, parroting each other.

"I've always wanted to do a second venture," says Kirby, who was born and raised in Charlottesville, "and when one came up so close, I couldn't resist."

While the Grill is known for wings– our friends at food blog Mas to Miller's deemed the Grill's wings one of the two best in Charlottesville– the Backyard BBQ is making a stab at offering the best, well, you know.

"It's a passion," says Kirby. "I will never cut down another BBQ joint because I now have the utmost respect for smokers. I have had many 3am wake up calls just to get the food on the smoker."

As Lazy-goers know, the Grill has 22 TVs to go with its wings, a thrivin...

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Chow Bella: Rome-inspired restaurant to open in March

What does the man who created Charlottesville's Wild Wing Café do for an encore? He builds another restaurant on West Main Street– only this time it's not a television-laden sports bar, but instead an intimate Italian eatery. And it will honor his wife, a 37-year-old native of Rome, who is lending her own nickname to what will be called Bella's.

"The menu is very simple," says owner Douglas Muir. "We're going to have nine entrées and one special each day."

Key to the concept are family-sized portions and prices that are a "happy medium" between the $14.95 Wild Wing meals and Charlottesville's high-end restaurants where an alcohol-accompanied dinner for two can easily top $100. The target price-point at Bella's, he says, is $25 per person including wine; for lunch, it's about half that.

"You'll see two prices for each item," says Muir, noting that oversized plates are intended for three or four people while even the small plates may be too much for most appetites.

"You're always gonna walk out with food from Bella's," says Muir.

"Americans eat fast and they're done," says Muir, noting that it's not unusual for an Italian meal to start at 6pm and end at midnight.

"If you're having real good food," his wife Valeria Bisenti interjects, "it'll last to one or two."

Indeed, the couple plan to keep the doors open until 2am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays– with a 10pm closing t...

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The week in review

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 values.

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: 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...

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Bus-ted: Transit policy blocks Harrington ad

As Charlotte Ding drove behind a public bus in Rochester, New York, an advertisement on the back of the vehicle pleading for help with an unsolved murder grabbed the former Charlottesville resident's attention– and sparked a brainstorm.

"I thought it would be a great way to draw attention to the Morgan Harrington case in Charlottesville," says Ding, who relocated to New York last year but still volunteers for the Harrington family's nonprofit ad campaign Help Save the Next Girl. Excited at the prospect of raising awareness about the mystery around the second anniversary of the discovery of Morgan's remains on January 26, Ding contacted Charlottesville Area Transit in late January ready to make a bus-side ad purchase. She didn't get far.

"I was told the ad wouldn't be accepted," says Ding, noting that the charity had been prepared to pay full price– about $250 per ad per month. "I couldn't believe it," says Ding. "Why wouldn't they want the money?"

"We only accept ads from commercial businesses," explains Transit marketing director Kristen Gleason, who says the no-nonprofit ad policy has been in place for years, prior to her 2008 assumption of that position....

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse