Charlottesville Breaking News

Unsilenced: How this mother fought to protect her daughter... and yours.

"Mom, I was raped."

The words hit Susan Russell like a fist to the stomach in late winter 2004, and she responded with a question to her 20-year-old daughter, Kathryn, who was home from UVA for the weekend.

"'Did you call the police?" Russell recalls asking, certain that law enforcement and school administrators would help her daughter through the ordeal and bring her attacker to justice.

That's not how things would go.

Prosecutors said there wasn't enough evidence to take the case. UVA's Sexual Assault Board agreed, issuing a not guilty verdict after hearing from  Kathryn and the man she accused. But Russell believed her daughter's account, and the idea that her child's assailant would get away without any punishment sparked within her a transformation from anguished mother in...

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Cruising Carlton: Jacobean revival, trailer parks, and towers

Ever drive down Carlton Avenue? We did.

It was never hard to miss the "Young Building" at 1102 Carlton, but now that Habitat for Humanity's transformation of the former Sunrise Trailer Park project has begun next door it really stands out. The only example of Jacobean Revival style in Charlottesville, the 2,744 square foot, eight-room brick building is on both the city's Individually Protected Property list and the National Register of Historic Places.

Indeed, the eaves that project out, the decorative rafter ends, and the elaborate Jacobean gables on either end and over the central bay make the former J.S. Young Company factory looks like some kind of Masonic church. Here, the company, which also produced licorice candy at other facilities, produced dyes extracted from wood that were used in the tanning process.

The Charlottesville factory was destroyed by a fire in 1920, but the office building survived. It would become a residence and then a rental property for many years. Today, it's own by Jeff Grosfeld, who opened the Under the Roof furniture store on West Main, and now runs a new furniture store in Downtown Waynesboro called Ann Arden Home Furnishings.

Grosfeld says he has no immediate plans for the property, which he's mostly using for storage, and is just "waiting for the right time" to fix it up or sell it. He says that Habitat offered to buy the property, which is assessed at $171,700, but didn't offer him very much.
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Cuccinelli effect: Rob Bell and Obenshain eye AG job

Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's recent decision to seek the Republican nomination for governor in 2013 has opened the door for those who'd like his job, including Harrisonburg state Senator Mark Obenshain and local Delegate Rob Bell.

"I had been looking at it the past few years, but until Ken Cuccinelli decided to run for governor, the position wasn't open," says Bell, who officially announces his run December 6 in Richmond.

Former Orange prosecutor Bell, 44, has represented the 58th District, which includes northeastern parts of Albemarle, since 2001, and has built a legislative record as a law-and-order guy. Drunk driving, bullying, and keeping sex offenders out of schools are areas in which he's carried multiple bills.

As the AG, Cuccinelli has been involved in several high-profile battles including a quest for emails from climate scientist Michael Mann, a legal challenge to so-called "Obamacare," and– most recently– a fight against Charlottesville resident Hunter Craig's quest for millions in conservation tax credits.

As for Obenshain, elected to the state Senate in 2003, he hails from Virginia Republican royalty. His father, Richard Obenshain, chaired the Republican Party of Virgina and co-chaired the Republican National Committee in the '70s, and was running for U.S. senator in August 1978 when his airplane crashed. His death opened...

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Very Veronica: Unclothed Occupy protester explains why

The woman whose nude protest and arrest sparked questions in the final moments of the Occupy Charlottesville encampment says she's a little surprised by the attention but definitely not regretful. While over 7,000 online viewers may know her as "the naked lady," she is a 33-year-old freelance author/editor named Veronica Fitzhugh, and she says she did indeed have a mission when she disrobed November 30 to give a public reading.

The mission began with what she read: the Declaration of Occupy Wall Street. Organized like the Declaration of Independence, the document lays out a litany of alleged offenses and injustices recently practiced by too-powerful corporations including a practical take-over of American government.

As for the nudity, that too had a point.

"I felt that nude protest is a blend of vulnerability and empowerment; and, quintessentially, that is the basis of most passive resistance," says Fitzhugh. "Also: the idea of being completely exposed, which can be considered an extremely weak position, while having something strong to say."

Her gesture won respect from the man whose name that night was angrily spat by some of her fellow colleagues for not allowing the protest to continue. While some anonymous online commenters made derisive statements, Mayor Dave Norri...

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Ready to roll? Boyd pushes Meadowcreek Parkway opening

Albemarle Supervisor Ken Boyd wants the Meadowcreek Parkway open, and he wants it open now– or at least by December 8.

Boyd introduced a resolution to the Board of Supervisors at its November 2 meeting to open Albemarle's portion of the parkway, which has been completed for over a year and was temporarily opened for six weeks in October 2010. The board held off on a vote until Virginia Department of Transportation traffic studies were complete. Now Boyd plans to bring the resolution back at the December 7 supes' meeting.

"VDOT says it can open it the next day if the resolution is passed by the board," says Boyd. "The road has been certified, and it needs to be used, or it will deteriorate."

"The road is ready for traffic," says VDOT spokesman Lou Hatter– although he's not able to confirm that VDOT can open the road within 24 hours of a county request. Signals have to be turned on. "I'm not sure how fast signal work can be done," says Hatter.

Also, says Hatter, VDOT would like for both the Albemarle Board of Supervisors and Charlottesville City Council to request the opening.

That's not quite the understanding Boyd has, and he disputes the notion of any formal agreement between city and county that the parkway wouldn't open until its three separate segments– the county's already-finished Meadowcreek Parkway, the barely begun McIntire Road Extended, and the completely uncommenced grade-separated Meadowcreek Parkway Interch...

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