Charlottesville Breaking News

9/11 reflections: 3,000 dead and freedom too

We lost the World Trade Center. We lost 3,000 people. Black people, white people, Asian people, Middle Eastern people. People we didn't even think were at risk.

My girlfriend called me to say that a plane had crashed into the Trade Center. "That's happened before at the Empire State Building," I replied. "It'll be fine."

It was another half hour before I turned on a TV and saw it was a passenger jet, not the crop duster I was expecting. I'm a lawyer, and I was just about to run out the door to court when my partner attorney told me a second jet hit the other tower, and in a split second it became crystal clear that it wasn't an accident.

I was still wrestling with the news as I ran in to court and sat down on the attorney bench listening to the cops in front of me talking about the Pentagon. I corrected them saying, "No, it wasn't the Pentagon; it was the World Trade Center." One of them turned around and said, "It was the Pentagon and the World Trade Center!"

My disbelief was growing by the second– maybe the biggest part of it being, "Why are we still sitting in here doing traffic tickets and whatnot like the world is still normal?" As I waited for my case to be called, I kept running back and forth into the clerk's office where they had a TV set up, and I saw the first big chunk collapse.

I finished my case and raced back to the office to turn on the TV again, and by the time I got there, the first tower had entirely coll...

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Long road

July 15, 2011

Charles & Josephine Rausch to Turner & Christine Lisle, 854 Locust Avenue, $580,000, Charlottesville 

Gordon & Margaret Stewart to John Robert Patteson, 1308 Hilltop Road, $592,000, Charlottesville

Kevin & Carolyn Schuyler to Keith Sherman, 1312 Hilltop Road, $870,000, Charlottesville 

William S. Alcott Revocable Trust to Kelly Short, 628 Davis Avenue, $248,000, Charlottesville 

Edward Lamb & Pamela Norris to Louis & Tomesah Harrison, 1509 Still Meadow Cove, $474,000, Albemarle 

Thomas Jennings, Jr. to Lloyd & Anne Widener, 2671 Cardinal Ridge Road, $415,000, Albemarle 

Cartus Financial Corporation to Timothy & Courtney Starr, 6252 Bargamin Branch Road,...

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Mall kiosk surfaces, British Corner invasion, and is the Mall okay?

The journey of the Downtown Mall's iconic kiosk continues. Three years ago, the City had it removed from the Mall with plans to demolish it. But after the Hook wrote about its demise, some folks showed an interest in saving the old structure. So the City put it up for auction. In the end, three bids were submitted, and Keswick resident Richard Hewitt, who said he had always admired the Mall artifact, walked away with it for $2,011.

"I'm happy it found a good home," he told the Hook. Three years later, however, the kiosk needs to move again. As some citizens may have recently noticed, Hewitt has it listed for sale on for $4,000.

"I bought it to rescue it from destruction," says Hewitt, "but we're moving, and there's no room for it."

Built in the early 1990s as a newsstand by SNL Financial founder Reid Nagle, the solid wood-and-copper structure, designed and constructed by Gaston & Wyatt, features electrical hook-ups, heat, and a working clock. It reportedly cost nearly $20,000 to build, but Nagle ended up donating it to the city. The kiosk has also seen service as a gift shop, a brochure spot, and a flower shop, and was proposed as a site for a bar and eatery before it was removed from the Mall.

Asked about the price...

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Quake casualty? Council candidate claims knock-out blow

James Halfaday was unlucky in his run for City Council, and his bad luck seems to have continued, apparently making him the only person injured in Charlottesville in the August 23 earthquake.

According to a post on Facebook, Halfaday allegedly suffered a concussion after his sunroom ceiling fell on him, knocking him unconscious. Halfaday writes that after regaining conciousness and staggering out from under the ceiling debris, he found his chihuahuas hiding in a corner. He posted a photograph of his damaged sunroom ceiling– and of himself wearing a neck brace.

Halfaday did not immediately respond to a request to tell his harrowing story to the Hook.

Charlottesville Fire Chief Charles Werner says he is unaware of anyone being injured in the 5.8 earthquake in the city, nor was he aware of any emergency calls for citizens trapped in collapsed or damaged buildings.

Meanwhile, since the August 20 City Council primary, where Halfaday finished seventh out of seven candidates, Halfaday alleges fear for his life on another matter, according to an NBC29 report.

An openly gay candidate, Halfaday claims a volun...

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Peer review: Serial peeper goes to grand jury

The young woman was lying in her bed talking on her cellphone when she noticed a head outside her basement window. The head seemed to be sideways on the ground, looking in through a small opening at the bottom of the blinds. When she ran outside, no one was there.

On another occasion, the fourth-year UVA biology major testified during a September 1 preliminary hearing in Charlotteville General District Court, she saw a figure down on all fours outside the window of her John Street bedroom.

Her testimony and the fingerprints lifted from an air conditioning compressor outside her window on July 7 were enough to send James Gilbert Stearn, 49, the man whose frequent voyeuristic activities resulted in a law that made third-time peeping a felony, to the grand jury.

Stearn's peeping arrests date back to the 1990s, and UVA coeds have been a favorite target. He's racked up at least a dozen peeping charges, as well as indecent exposure and trespassing arrests.

In 2002, at the request of a local prosecutor and police officer who had been unable to deter Stearn with Class 1 misdemeanor convictions, Delegate Rob Bell carried a bill that made a third peeping charge a felony and requires registration as a sexual offender.

Stearn had already served 2 1/2 years in prison when he was arrested July 27, and he's been held without bond. If convicted again of the...

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Editor's Note