Charlottesville Breaking News

Crossed over: Artist Mitchell dies four years after crosswalk incident

Less than two months after settling his lawsuit against the Albemarle County police officer who struck him in a crosswalk in November 2007, artist Gerry Mitchell has died.

"The idea of not seeing him again is unimaginable," says friend Jennifer Grant, who stayed with Mitchell over the last week of his life until his death late Saturday night, December 3.

While Mitchell had suffered from AIDS and related complications since the 1980s, his doctors say his health woes were exacerbated by injuries sustained when he was struck as he crossed West Main Street in his wheelchair on November 5, 2007. Community outrage soared with news that pedestrian Mitchell, who'd been crossing with a green light, had been ticketed by Charlottesville police in what many saw as a police cover-up.

News that Albemarle County Officer Gregory C. Davis had been texting during the accident, information that came out through the $850,000 suit Mitchell filed, stoked anger and led to the County's offer to settle in October.

For Mitchell, the settlement was small consolation, says his younger brother, Corky Mitchell.

"All he ever really wanted out of that situation was an apology," says Corky. "He never got that, and that's a sad sign of the times."

If the case th...

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Unhappy New Year: Local Sperry HQ to shut down as layoffs loom

Northrop Grumman announced plans Friday to shut down its Charlottesville-based Sperry Marine U.S. headquarters, leaving its 37 employee with uncertain futures. While a spokesperson for the company says that a "small number" of employees will be allowed to transfer to the company's large Marine Systems unit on Route 29, the rest will be "laid off" at the end of January 2012.  

“Every effort will be made to assist impacted individuals in finding new employment," says Northrop Grumman spokesperson Jack Martin in an email to the Hook. "Affected employees will receive all separation and other benefits to which they are entitled, and the company will also provide outplacement assistance to help those who will be seeking other employment including at other Northrop Grumman facilities."

Martin says that a United Kingdom-based Sperry Marine facility will take over the Charlottesville office's duties, though workers in Europe are not immune to Northrop Grumman cost-cutting efforts. Martin says that 60 to 70 positions through Europe could be eliminated as well.

The international marine industry has been hit hard by the global recession, explains Martin. As a result, orders for Sperry Marine products and services are down.

"It is imperative that we realign our facilities and staffing levels to better meet the requirements of our customers," he says.

Martin says the current announcement will not affect the...

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Huguely mistake: Dabbling dad lost cash on Morgantown

It's been said that nobody ever lost money buying property in Albemarle County. George Huguely IV may have found a way.

In September 2005, just as his namesake son was enrolling in his first year as a student-athlete at the University of Virginia, the elder Huguely made what he must have thought was a strategic land purchase near Charlottesville.

About five miles west of the city limits, amid the tony suburbs of Ivy, the 10.34-acre tract was near what was then the home of Dave Matthews Band bassist Stefan Lessard along Morgantown Road. Unfortunately, Lessard's home would burn down just two years later. Huguely's dreams would last a little longer.

Huguely, who lives in Bethesda (and who did not return a reporter's call), found that he could carve the Ivy land into three sellable homesites. What could possibly go wrong?

Things started out in a promising fashion. In 2007, Huguely sold one of the homesites for more than half of the total purchase price for the whole tract. With two more sites to sell– including a much larger one– he appeared well on his way not just to recouping, but perhaps doubling,...

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Arrest, foreclosure: As trial nears, woes swarm elder Huguely

The father of accused girlfriend-killer George Huguely V has had his own run-in with the law, and is facing three charges related to alleged drunk driving in Montgomery County, Maryland.

According to the Washington Examiner, George Wesley Huguely IV was arrested September 20 in Potomac after a police officer observed a dispute between Huguely and two joggers in which one of the runners allegedly hit Huguely's black Chevrolet Suburban. The officer followed the SUV and observed it driving erratically and going through a red light.

Huguely, 56, took a field sobriety test and was taken to the police station, where he refused to take an alcohol breath test, the Washington Post reports. He was charged with driving while under the influence of alcohol, driving while impaired by alcohol, and for failure to obey properly placed traffic control device instructions....

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Occupy ousted: Cops take naked lady, 15 others

MORE PHOTOS

The night after their permit to remain in downtown's Lee Park expired, members of the Occupy Charlottesville movement, an ardent band of peaceful campers and protesters made a last stand as scores of supporters arrived to encourage their effort. But in the end, the final show– including a naked woman– was not enough to stave off ouster by the Charlottesville Police Department. 

Since mid-October, when a few tents appeared in the one-acre park, the local version of Occupy Wall Street has attempted to rally support for the idea that too much wealth has been concentrated in the hands of too few. The provocative 24/7 effort stoked controversy as City government appeared to extend privileges including the r...

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