Charlottesville Breaking News

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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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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