Charlottesville Breaking News

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

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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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Not welcome: As Lee Park empties, UVA shoos Occupiers

Members of Occupy Charlottesville planning to move their tents to George Rogers Park on the Corner won't find a welcome wagon waiting, according to a warning issued by UVA brass, and those who choose to stay downtown in Lee Park against city orders are prepping for a confrontation with Charlottesville police.

"Such an encampment will not be permitted on the University’s Grounds," writes Michael Strine, UVA executive VP and chief operating officer in a letter sent today to Occupy Charlottesville members. Citing the Rogers park's proximity to the school and hospital at its location at the corner of Main Street and Jefferson Park Avenue, Strine claims such an encampment "would create significant health, hygiene, and safety problems for the University community and the citizens we serve," and warns would-be occupiers that they'll face trespassing charges if they don't heed the warning.

Whether Strine's warning is a deterrent remains to be seen at George Rogers Park, and as the 6pm deadline approaches, Lee Park is a flurry of activity as tents are folded, trash collected.

According to the Occupy Charlottesville Facebook page, Occupiers who plan to remain in Lee Park when the permit expires at 6pm are being offered tips on passive resistance. Arrests won't likely take place until 11pm, when a park curfew goes into effect. And according to Occupier Lyle Farmer, who plans to start a survivalist community on land around Charlottesville in the near future, som...

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