Charlottesville Breaking News

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...

11 comments | read more

Last stand: The Charlottesville Occupier who died

She didn't come to Lee Park to protest. She was just looking for a safe place to sleep.

Now, friends and family are mourning the death of Linda Doig, a former international fashion model who once worked with top designers in Milan and Paris, but whose downward spiral into alcoholism brought her into the Occupy Charlottesville encampment in late November. Within days of setting up camp in the park, she told a reporter, she embraced the movement.

"You have to listen to what they're saying," said Doig. "They're making sense."

During the interview, conducted on November 28, the 51-year-old Doig appeared tearful and frail but mentally lucid as she recalled her glamorous past and the medical issues that ravaged her. She noted that a back injury and other conditions were exacerbated by the outdoor living conditions she endured since getting evicted from an Albemarle County residence in mid-November.

"I don't know where I'm going to go," said Doig, weeping, as her companion, 47-year-old carpenter Carey Hicks, squeezed her hand and expressed sympathy for her situation.

"She had further to fall than I did," Hicks said of their sudden homelessness.

Sources indicate that Doig's family members, who had been trying to find her since her eviction, had obtained a room for her in an area motel soon after she left Lee Park; but her health appears to have deteriorated...

30 comments | read more

Halfaday holiday: Candidate's election fraud case continued

The trial of former City Council candidate James Halfaday on four counts of address-based election fraud has been continued until January 26.

Outside the courtroom on Thursday, December 15, Halfaday declined to comment or to say where he really lives.

"I just want to wish the people in Charlottesville and the media," he said, "a happy holiday."

Making his first bid for public office on a pro-business, pro-people platform, Halfaday came in last in the Democratic firehouse primary in August.

After the primary, a lawyer contacted the Hook to say that Halfaday was not the owner of Snap Fitness gym, as he'd claimed throughout the campaign. And according to residents at the Sunset Road address Halfaday used in his campaign filings, he didn't appear to live there either. And three contributors listed as giving $499 to Halfaday's campaign told the Hook they had never made donations to him.

Halfaday was arrested October 19 and charged with four felony counts of election fraud for the alleged false address. If convicted of all four counts and handed the maximum sentence, Halfaday could earn as much as forty years in prison.

As the...

10 comments | read more

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...

10 comments | read more

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...

18 comments | read more
Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse
Editor's Note