Charlottesville Breaking News

Southern, uncapped: Whiskey Jar strips down walls... and recipes

"It's been a long time dream of mine," says Will Richey, while lying on his back with a wet paintbrush in hand, "to do a Southern restaurant."

That dream may come true next month when the 35-year-old opens The Whiskey Jar, a concept he and two partners are putting into the space long occupied by Escafé, which is moving to Water Street.

At 227 West Main, workers have already stripped the place to the walls (with exposed brick in some places), installed a new floor, and there are plans to rebuild the bar without any clutter overhead.

Richey is well known as the owner of Revolutionary Soup and as founder of the Charlottesville Wine Guild; but it's Red Row Farm, a little organic plot he and his wife, Lisa, operate near Esmont that will put much of the food on these tables.

Raising pigs, chickens, sheep– along with plenty of okra, kale, and collard greens– the couple is engaging in what economists call "vertical integration," but Richey says his new restaurant's aim is "taking local to its next logical conclusion."

"It'll be southern food specific to the Piedmont region of Virginia in our great-grandmothers' era," he says, "at prices they'd recognize also."

Appropriately, at this storefront in the sh...

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Judge quits: Berry goes to Allen & Allen

The chief judge of the 16th Judicial Circuit of Virginia, which includes Albemarle and Charlottesville, has been hired as managing partner for the Charlottesville office of Virginia's largest personal injury firm.

John G. "Jack" Berry, presiding judge for Culpeper and Fluvanna circuit courts, goes to work February 1 for Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen, whose Charlottesville office has been without a managing partner since Matt Murray resigned in July under a cloud of misconduct allegations and sanctions in the Lester v. Allied Concrete wrongful death lawsuit.

Berry was born in Charlottesville and raised in Madison County. He's been a 16th Circuit Court judge since 2008, and chief judge since 2010. The district also includes Goochland, Louisa, Orange, Greene, and Madison counties. His father, David Berry, was an Albemarle Circuit Court judge.

Jack Berry graduated magna cum laude from Washington & Lee in 1976, where he was a star quarterback and Phi Beta Kappa member, and he received his law degree from UVA in 1979.

It was at law school that Berry met Coleman Allen, the man who would recruit him from the bench more than 30 year...

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Mann act: 'Hockey stick' scientist returns to UVA

"It's not wrong to be wrong," says Michael Mann, author of the famous "hockey stick graph," the controversial image of a recent spike in global temperatures.

Speaking on the quest for knowledge in a divisive political climate, the climate scientist made his first public return to the University of Virginia since the state's attorney general began suing, trying to see if he committed any fraud when on the faculty. Speaking to a packed lecture hall on January 17, the Penn State professor seemed unfazed by AG Ken Cuccinelli.

"While I've borne costs, I've also borne opportunities," Mann said. "The best way I can get back at my detractors is being the most effective spokesperson I can be."

During the Q&A period, Mann asserted that deniers of climate change have received "far too much prominence" in media reports and that nations such as the U.S. and Australia– perhaps due to their history of "contrarianism" and "the rugged individualist mindset"– have rejected limits on emissions eagerly accepted by European nations.

In keeping with willingness to be wrong, Mann told the crowd in UVA's Clark Hall to remain open to new information.

"We should all be skeptics," he said. "I'd like to think I'm a skeptic."

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Pam Melampy: Clerk candidate dies from aneurysm

It started as a really bad headache over the weekend. By Monday, January 16, Pam Collier Melampy was dead from an aneurysm, says her sister, Albemarle Circuit Court Clerk Debbie Collier Shipp.

Melampy went to see her parents on January 15. "Mom was having problems with her esophagus, and they went to the emergency room," says Shipp. While they were at Martha Jefferson Hospital, Melampy's mother urged her daughter to seek treatment for the headache.

After a CAT scan and an MRI at Martha Jefferson, Melampy, who had turned 50 on December 24, was transferred to UVA Medical Center, according to her sister. "She sat up in bed and said, 'There's something really wrong with my head,'" says Shipp.

Melampy was a deputy clerk working for her sister in the county. In 2011, she ran unsuccessfully for the Charlottesville Circuit Court clerk job, first in the Democratic primary and then as an independent.

For Debbie Shipp, her sister's death marks a year of unbearable loss. On January 23, 2011, Shipp's 21-year-old son David died in an automobile accident. "It was exactly one week before the one-year anniversary," says Shipp of her sister's January 16 death.

Pam Melampy had organized a blood drive for January 23 in memory of David...

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River law: Local angler fights for river access

Several years ago, when a local angler waded into a waterway in Alleghany County, he also waded into a legal battle over property rights and public access to Virginia's rivers that has cost him $50,000 in legal fees, and counting.

Along a 14-mile stretch of the Jackson River just beneath the Gathright Dam, the cold, pure waters from the depths of Lake Moomaw, created when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers built a dam in the late 1960s, create one of the most ideal trout habitats in the state. Indeed, a few years ago, the Jackson's reputation as an angler's paradise prompted one savvy developer to market a high-end residential golfing community along its banks, "providing privileged access to over 4-miles of private river frontage and year-round fly-fishing."

Dargan Coggeshall, a Charlottesville business owner and long-time fly-fisherman, says he discovered a spot in front of the proposed development more than two years ago. Before selling a single lot, Coggeshall says the developer had scattered No Trespassing signs along the river bank, and had even come down to the river's edge to tell Coggeshall he wasn't allowed to fish in that part of the river because it was privately owned.

Coggeshall scoffed at the idea, as a centuries-old Virginia statute deems the beds of all rivers and streams as public property for the "purposes of fishing, fowling, hunting, and taking and catching oysters and other shellfish.”

One time, Coggeshall...

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