Charlottesville Breaking News

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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VQR rising? Lit mag hires new publisher, deputy editor

On Monday, December 12, about fourteen months after the award-winning Virginia Quarterly Review might have appeared on the verge of extinction after an 86-year publishing streak, the University of Virginia announced that a new publisher and deputy editor are joining the staff.

In August 2010, the VQR was rocked by tragedy, the suicide of its 52-year old managing editor, Kevin Morrissey, who shot himself near the Coal Tower property on the last official day in office of then University President John Casteen.

Grief-stricken VQR staffers and Morrissey family members alleged that VQR editor Ted Genoways had treated Morrissey cruelly in the weeks before his death, something Genoways denied even as the case spiraled into a national discussion about workplace bullying.

Later, it was revealed that Morrissey had reached out to UVA officials as many as 18 times to address the workplace problems in the weeks before his suicide. One VQR staffer called Genoways' treatment of Morrissey "egregious," while others accused him of squandering VQR funds, being an absentee boss, and courting a wealthy, 24-year-old donor by creating a job for her without an official search.

What's more, a UVA investigation revealed evidence of financial recklessness and mismanagement, and recommended that "corrective action" be taken against Genoways.

Still, University officials elected to stand by Genoways. While the magazine had been associated with the p...

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Saturday sadness: Staff and diners prepare for Tavern closing

We sent photographer Tom Daly to the Tavern, the Emmet Street breakfast place where "students, tourists, and townpeople meet," to try to capture some flavor as the venerable diner prepares to close down. Business owner Shelly Gordon and property owner Clara Belle Wheeler haven't come to terms on extending the lease, so Gordon has set the restaurant's departure date as Saturday, December 24. Daly shot his photographs on Saturday, December 10.

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UPDATE Transcript-gate? Law student/model banned from UVA property

UVA law student Joshua Peter Gomes, arrested around 3am December 7 outside of Carruthers Hall and charged with three felony counts, has been released from jail and ordered to stay away from University of Virginia property.

University officials reported the Registrar's office on Emmet Street was broken into December 6, and police were already investigating that when they allegedly found Gomes on the site. He's been charged with two counts of breaking and entering and one possession of burglary tools. He won his release at a Friday, December 9 bond hearing.

"We do not believe he made entry into the facility on December 7th, the night he was arrested," says UVA police spokesperson Melissa Fielding. And she says there were no signs of forced entry.

Police suspect Gomes of entering the Registrar's office to steal official transcript paper, according to a release. Transcript paper was found during a search of his residence after his arrest.

Gomes, 25, is a second-year law student who attended undergraduate school at the University of Connecticut, according to his Linkedin profile. He lists involvement with the Black Law Students Association and the Innocence Project Clinic at UVA. And photos posted on a website called Model Mayhem...

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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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