Charlottesville Breaking News

Child un-support: State agency blames parents for flawed deposit

Every month, Charlottesville resident Sherry Nist gets a child support payment of $1,500 when her ex-husband writes a check to the state, which then moves the funds into her bank account. In early December, however, instead of the usual $1,500, the agency credited her account with just $15. The missing funds wreaked havoc on her finances, and state officials are now refusing to compensate her for the more than $600 in ensuing overdraft fees.

The check for $1,500 showed up in Nist's state account on Friday, December 2, as just $15. And even that money didn't reach her bank account until Tuesday, December 6, and that's when Nist realized she had a big problem.

"I was trying to buy coffee, and my debit card was declined," she says. "I had some auto pays that had posted. It just built so that I couldn't use my account. It was exponential."

Nist contacted the state agency, the Division of Child Support Enforcement, which promptly blamed Joe Yung, the check writer.

"The noncustodial parent made an error on his check," says Phyllis Sisk with the Division.

And yet a copy of the check provided by Yung shows a top line of "$1500." Although the zeros are written smaller, there also appears to be a notation for zero cents, and the second line is even more clearly marked: "Fifteen hundred even."

The release of the check hasn't prompted the state to admit any responsibility.

"Both our worker and the bank read it as $15," says Sisk, noting...

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Hungry for stories: The 2011 food round-up

The past year was a rough one economically, but that didn't stop some brave souls from opening up restaurants and eateries. We counted 28 new places that opened this past year, while 15 places closed. However, one restaurant, Carlton's, opened and closed this year, giving us some indication of the high-wire act restaurateurs must perform in these tough times and in this increasingly demanding foodie town.

And speaking of foodie towns. Back in May, Forbes had a story with lots of props for RelayFoods.com, the new Charlottesville-based grocery-gathering business which seems to be holding its own in a field littered with start-up corpses, but the real shocker was a casually inserted shout out to Charlottesville as the "locavore capital of the world."

Indeed, in the last five years, area chefs and grocers have taken the use of local produce to a new level. It used to be that chefs had a hard time finding enough volume of locally produced food, but thanks to ventures like the Local Food Hub and a growing number of producers we're in the midst of a local food explosion.

So, as we head into 2012, here are few memories from the past year.

 

Peter Chang chooses Charlottesville

The elusive Chinese chef once featured i...

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FunStuff: December 22 and beyond

Night lights
You may never be sure the Great Wall of China is visible from space, but you can bet your last chocolate coin that Jeffrey Norford's Christmas lights are visible from I-64. The full-time delivery driver (whose hauls include the Hook) has become legendary for personally greeting visitors– this year dressed as Rudolph– at his house-dwarfing display near the U.S. 20 exit. (From Downtown: Take Monticello Avenue toward PVCC and then left on Quarry Road which turns into Mountain View Street.)
Until January 8, 1307 Mountain View Street, evenings, free

 

Skip is back
There may not be a "Skip" in Skip Castro, but like Jesus to Bethlehem, the venerable "Boogie at Midnight" party...

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Road rage? Law student to spend Christmas Eve in jail

It hasn't been a good year for students at the UVA Law School, at least for the four budding barristers learning the law via outside-the-classroom incidents.

The latest is Schuyler-raised London Crounse, 24, who is supposed to enter the legal profession in 2013 and who graduated with honors from Virginia Military Institute, but who allegedly so traumatized a bike-riding UVA p...

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My minute with Hitch

I got word this morning, December 16, that the most iconoclastic journalist of his time, Christopher Hitchens, died yesterday. I thought you might like to hear of my one interaction with him.

It was June of 1998 in Washington, D.C., where I led a small delegation from C-ville Weekly to the annual convention of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. It was quite the weekend event!

For starters, we all went out to a bar where the thumping bass and cacophony of lights couldn't overshadow the treat of the evening: Mayor Marion Barry. Having regained the mayorship despite an embarrassing bout with crack cocaine and prison, Barry arrived at this official convention social event at a bar on a cobblestoned alley which his dark limousine ably traveled. Thrilled to meet a man who had turned himself into a public tragedy, members of the gaggle of hard-drinking journalists took turns introducing themselves.

Speaking of hard-drinking journalists, Hitchens was the star of the weekend confab. I say this because at the next day's quite sober programs, Hitch was booked into a large ballroom while a simultaneous or near-simultaneous speech by Ralph Nader took place in a room not much larger than a storage closet.

Anyway, in that standing-room-only space, Hitch proceeded to gently scold the so-called alternative press for failing to investigate, for failing to take chances. T...

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