Charlottesville Breaking News

Transcript-gate continues: Spy-cam found in registrar's office

His modeling pictures show Joshua Peter Gomes as a man comfortable in front of a camera. Now, according to a search warrant, Gomes appears at ease in front of a camera even when, authorities allege, he was breaking into the University of Virginia's registrar's office.

Gomes, 25, a now-former UVA law student, was arrested outside of Carruthers Hall on Emmet Street around 3am December 7 and charged with two counts of breaking and entering and one of possession of burglary tools.

UVA police assert that employees at the registrar's office had noticed a few things amiss and contacted University Police December 6 to investigate a B&E. Officer J. Thacker noticed what some might consider an ordinary coat hook mounted on a wall inside the registrar's office. But that was no ordinary coat hook.

As many voyeurs already know, tiny cameras can be mounted inside household objects, and the Internet is replete with coat hooks pre-installed with a micro video-cam.

Examining the output from the spy-device camera, Officer Thacker allegedly saw the image of a black male clearly facing the camera, a man who then turned to go rifling through a...

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Person of the year: Ken Boyd. King of the road... and the midnight vote

If Ken Boyd's entire political career were an Aesop's fable, he'd be the slow-and-steady tortoise. But when the opportunity arose earlier this year, the usually mild-mannered Republican maneuvered and rammed through a late-night vote on the controversial Western 29 Bypass, a highway project that had been presumed dead for more than a decade. In seizing the reins of power after the public had gone home, Boyd helped overturn long-established opposition from the Board of Supervisors, sent shock waves through the environmental community, and launched a permanent change to the landscape of Albemarle County.

 

Earlier t...

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Verdant Parkway: County's part likely to open in January

With no opposition– only advice– from Charlottesville City Council and with the Albemarle Supervisors having resolved to open the Melbourne-to-Rio Road portion, the county's stretch of the two-mile Meadowcreek Parkway is poised to welcome drivers in January. While the exact date is undetermined, the Virginia Department of Transportation appears unlikely to reject City Council's December 5 request for tweaks such as turn lane-striping and lower speed limits near schools.

The Hook's person of the year, already famous for another road– the U.S. 29 Western Bypass– has urged the state to speed the opening of the County's 1.3-mile stretch of Meadowcreek (which had a year-ago multi-week test-drive). On December 7, Ken Boyd and the other Supervisors put their request in the form of a unanimous resolution.

"VDOT will evaluate concerns recently identified by the city and coordinate with the city staff on appropriate action," VDOT says in a same-day release

"The update to the schedule as of this week," says VDOT spokesperson Lou Hatter on December 20, "is an estimated opening at the end of the first week of January, weather permitting."

–story updated Tuesday, December 20 swapping out press release VDOT statement for Lou Hatter VDOT statement.

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Person of the year: The runners up

 Images in slideshow

GIL HARRINGTON
When the remains of her daughter Morgan were discovered on a southern Albemarle County farm nearly two years ago, Gil Harrington could have let searing anguish push her into a quiet corner.

But through her exquisite pain and rage, she has put a powerful voice behind every parent's deepest fear. Straight talk about the killer and poetic talk about her daughter have combined with a recent lawsuit to make Gil– short for Gilbert (a French name with a soft "g")– a powerful national advocate for the families of missing people. Along with her equally fervent husband, Dan, she has been lobbying lawmakers for...

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Second glance: Free Bridge a design delight

If you live or travel east of Charlottesville, you've probably driven over it hundreds, if not thousands of times without giving it a passing glance. Yet the seven-lane Free Bridge that crosses the Rivanna River on 250 East is an award-winning design project which merits a second glance as officials ponder design ideas for downtown's Belmont Bridge.

"I’ve always thought that Free Bridge is an elegant, simply designed, bridge," blogs local photographer Ed Deasy, who captured a beautiful night shot of the structure. "You do not appreciate this in the least while driving over it. All you see is the railing zipping by. Only from the river can the arched sides be seen."

As Deasy points out, the only way to see those arched sides is to get out of the car and head down to the river. (A reporter can attest that trying to photograph the bridge from the nearby river banks is a challenge, as the trees and thorny brush are thick, and the footing is steep and muddy.)

"We tried to design the bridge to serve as a unique gateway into Charlottesville, not just a standard-issue widened stretch of highway happening to cross a waterway," says Georgia Tech architecture professor Ellen Dunham-Jones, who, with her partner, fellow Tech architect ...

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