Charlottesville Breaking News

Commemorations planned for tenth anniversary of 9/11

The public can watch a march of Charlottesville's first responders and get a peek at the city's own chunk of World Trade Center steel as part of the "Weekend of Remembrance and Honor" to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the events of 9/11/01. Key events on Sunday, September 11, take place on the Downtown Mall and include an array of musical groups paying tribute to the horrific nation-changing events that occurred a decade earlier.

"The Mall is going to be a sea of over 200 flags," says one of the organizers, Merry Thomasson. "Besides New York, Charlottesville is going to have one of the most significant commemorations in the country."

There'll also be a speech by a retired admiral, with musical tributes from groups such as UVA's Black Voices and Glee Club, the brass ensemble of the Municipal Band– plus a performance of Gabriel Fauré's moving Requiem by the Virginia Consort and Orchestra.

The march down the Mall begins at 4:45pm with the featured event at 5pm in the nTelos Wireless Pavilion. The evening is capped with a free 7:15pm screening of a documentary called Rebirth at the Paramount Theater.

Across the mountain, Natural Bridge-based impressario "Professor" Mark Cline has something equally– if not more– dramatic in store. As previously reported, near the K...

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Milestone managing Jefferson School rehab

The article in last week's paper on the Jefferson School (Finally: Jefferson School Ready for Renovation, August 25, issue 1034) misspelled and incorrectly identified the role of Milestone Partners. The firm is not "doing the rehab," but is actually managing the project. The firm handling the construction is Kjellstrom and Lee.

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Big reveal: Judge demands cop's tale in wheelchair case

The cop-hitting-the-wheelchair case moved a step closer to trial on thte morning of Wednesday, August 31 as a judge in Charlottesville Circuit Court ordered Albemarle County to produce a statement made by County Police Officer Gregory C. Davis that could shed light on his texting activities immediately before the 2007 crosswalk accident in which he struck Gerry Mitchell in his wheelchair.

"This is about the integrity of the investigative process," argued assistant County attorney Andy Herrick seeking to quash a subpoena for the record, claiming that the release of such a confidential document could have a "chilling effect" on future internal investigations and meant for Officer Davis a "major invasion of privacy."

Furthermore, Herrick noted, Mitchell's attorneys entered into an agreement with the County early on in the case permanently withdrawing their subpoena for the entire investigative file in exchange for the statement Davis made at the scene of the accident.

That agreement, insisted Mitchell attorney Richard Armstrong, should be nullified since "critical" information about Davis' texting and the statement in the internal file wasn't available.

"We were kept in the dark and made an agreement in the dark," said Armstrong, telling visiting Judge Gaylord L. Finch (hearing the case due to the potential for conflict with a...

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Hardee's hoodlums? Five arrested for strong arm robbery

The Albemarle County Police have arrested five men in connection with an alleged attempted strong-arm robbery that took place at the Hardee’s in the Pantops Shopping Center on August 30. All are being held without bond at the Albemarle/Charlottesville Regional Jail.

This is the case in which the men were not alleged to be robbing the business, but just a patron– a patron fighting back with pepper spray.

The men charged are Joe Thompson, 33, with no fixed address; Steven Caldwell, 30, with no fixed address; Gregory Woodson, 26 of Charlottesville; William Johnson II, 30, with no fixed address; and John Jordan, 46, with no fixed address. All have all been charged with robbery.

The Albemarle County Police encourage anyone who may have witnessed this incident to contact the Police Department at 434-296-5807 or Crime Stoppers at 434-977-4000.

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What's next: Is the quake just the beginning?

Unless you were in the presence of a perceptive animal– and there were scattered reports of skittish dogs– it came without warning four seconds after 1:51pm on a sunny Tuesday, August 23. At 5.8 on the Richter scale, it was the biggest earthquake to hit Central Virginia during human habitation, the biggest in Virginia in the era of measured earthquakes, and, according to the state geologist, taking note of reports stretching from Canada to South Carolina, "the most-felt earthquake in human history."

Like Hurricane Camille, which struck Central Virginia in 1969, it would be several days before the extent of the damage became known. Most severely hit were schools and houses in Louisa County, a place that's home to about 33,000 people– and one very strong earthquake.

Shawn Lawson's husband was in the shower of their rented home when the pink ceramic tiles suddenly began popping off the wall. Outside, the porch roof collapsed. And inside, Lawson huddled over a nephew and grandson as the walls cracked and the chimney tumbled onto a picnic table in the yard.

"I don't know that it's liveable," said Lawson of the house, pointing to myriad cracks a few hours after the big shake.

Scenes of lost chimneys, cracked walls, and shifted foundations were repeated across Louisa. Within days, officials had tallied the property damage at nearly $7 million. And that doesn't count the schools, two of which have been ruled out of service for the dura...

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