Charlottesville Breaking News

Shoppers exodus: China King moves to Hibachi Grill

The gigantic China King Buffet is the latest tenant to vacate the increasingly empty store-fronted Shoppers World, moving down the road to the Hibachi Grill on Seminole Trail.

China King owner Gui Chen says Shoppers World wouldn't renew the Buffet's lease.

"They tried to get everyone out," says Chen, whose large eatery of sushi, grilled meats, and vegetable dishes occupied the site of the once-popular Katie's Country Club nightspot until the last days of December.

In 2011, the 169,000-square-foot shopping center also lost such tenants Whole Foods, Super Shoes and Ragazzi's. And with the upcoming opening of Stonefield, and the apparent glut of commercial real estate in nearby U.S. 29 shopping centers, such as Albemarle Square and Seminole Square, the big question is what owner Federal Realty Investment Trust, which also owns Barracks Road Shopping Center, has planned.

The Rockville, Maryland-based real estate investment company bought the aging...

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False light? Would-be killer wants vampire stories removed

When Kurt Kroboth was tried for a vampire mask-assisted attempted murder of his estranged wife on Halloween night in 2004, the details of an upper-income couple's bitter divorce-turned-horror movie rocked Charlottesville. The former financier went to prison for six years, and now that he's released, he's ready to make a fresh start. The only thing he believes is standing in the way of "a reconstructed, normal life," he writes in a June 10 email, is the Hook's website, which contains "lurid" details of his case.

Now living in retirement in the Arizona community of Green Valley, the 56-year-old Kroboth says that due to the Hook's "ongoing attack on my reputation," he may pursue a legal remedy, including "monetary damages."

Kroboth's warning comes in a December 16 registered letter, in which he claims that a defamation lawsuit filed in Arizona doesn't require the plaintiff to prove false information, only that it creates a false implication.

Kroboth notes that online articles can be hidden from search engines by adding a line of code, and that the Hook should cloak the stories dated February 16, 2006, May 11, 2006, and February 21, 2011, "a simple...

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A remembrance: Alicia Bowler Lugo

My daughter was 11 when she told me, “I want to meet Alicia.”

I had talked about my boss, but I guess I never realized how much, until my young Margaret wanted to meet her based on my larger-than-life descriptions.

Then in her early 30s, Alicia Lugo was executive director of Charlottesville’s Opportunities Industrialization Council (OIC), an organization started by an African American activist in Philadelphia, the Rev. Leon Sullivan, as a means to prepare the poor for jobs by providing basic education and GED programs, along with on-the-job apprenticeship training.

Operating out of the old Lane High School before it became the Albemarle Office building, Charlottesville OIC was a full-fledged training center.

My family had moved to Madison County in 1975. A year earlier, Alicia had established “OIC Outreach,” a program to serve rural places like Madison, along with Orange, Culpeper and Greene. At first, there were just three of us, Outreach director Julie, job developer Gordon, and the counselor, yours truly.  But Alicia provided the vision behind our enterprise of helping the rural poor.

In Central Virginia in the mid-1970s, Alicia was unique among Charlottesville leaders– an African American woman serving as agency director. Other helping agencies in Charlottesville were run by men: MACAA, Mental Health Services, Charlottesville Social Services, the Housing Authority, a...

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FunStuff: Charlottesville events January 5 and beyond

First Fridays may be known for art on the walls of galleries, but beginning this month there's also some art on the floor, as Alexandra Dance Studio launches its first monthly Bellydance Night. All kinds of dancers have been invited including folkloric, cabaret, tribal, and tribal fusion– along with other movements like Nia, Zumba, and hoopers. There'll even be an open dance at this second-floor space at 109 2nd Street SE. After a long week, what a  way to unwind.
January 6, Alexandra Dance Studio, 7:30-9:30pm, free





Benefit for Bennie
Great local music, great cause. Head over to the Fry's Spring Beach Club and help the Charlottesville music community raise money for musician Bennie Dodd, who's facing some hefty medical bills and possible foreclosure on his home. Organizers...

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Guv's decree: Charlottesville Amtrak service gets another two years

The three-year pilot program to run a daily train between Lynchburg and Boston– greatly bolstering Charlottesville's railroad access to New York and other zesty cities in the Northeast– has won an additional two years of operating funding.

It's never been entirely clear to this reporter why a train that supposedly generates an operating profit requires an ongoing subsidy. (The answer may lie in capital commitments the state has made to the freight railroads that allow the Amtrak trains to ride their rails.)

In any event, the news released Friday, December 30, is that a new state budget proposal specifically allows the Commonwealth Transportation Board to allocate any needed money from the six-year-old Rail Enhancement Fund into a new fund called the Intercity Passenger Rail Operating and Capital Fund.

While the person who actually presented the budget is Governor Bob McDonnell, the person making the announcement about the impact on this Amtrak "Northeast Regional" service was Democratic minority leader and Charlottesville-based Delegate David Toscano, who hailed the salvation of the service "a great victory in these trying economic times."

Rail booster Meredith Richards explains that the the governor's move diverts money from Virginia's rail infrastructure fund to pay for another two years of operating the regional trains...

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