Charlottesville Breaking News

Kristin's picks: Szakos endorses Galvin, Huja

Five days before the Dems pick three candidates for City Council, Kristin Szakos has named her choices to join her on the dais at City Hall: fellow Councilor Satyendra Huja and School Board member Kathy Galvin.

"It was hard to narrow it down to three," says Szakos, who opted to name only two choices. She cites Huja's nearly 40 years of city government experience and Galvin's expertise in education, planning, and smart neighborhood development.

And while Szakos campaigned with Mayor Dave Norris in 2009, two years later they're not on the same page in their preferences for City Council. Norris has given the nod to candidates Colette Blount, Brevy Cannon and Dede Smith.

Paul Beyer and James Halfaday complete the field of seven Dems seeking their party's nomination for City Council, and another five independents hope to garner votes in November.

The August 20 primary also will determine the Democratic nominee for clerk of court, an eight-year, $112K job, with incumbent Paul Garrett trying to fend off challengers Llezelle Dugger and Pam Melampy.

The firehouse primary will be held Saturday, August 20, from 9am to 7pm at Burley Middle School on Rose Hill Drive, and any r...

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Summer thunderstorm wreaks havoc

A severe thunderstorm struck the Charlottesville area Sunday night, downing trees and putting thousands in the dark. Among the casualties in the August 14 event was the Goco gas station on Cherry Avenue which lost its canopy, according to City Fire Chief Charles Werner.

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First view: Designers reveal look for Trader Joe's, Stonefield

Trader Joe's, the specialty grocery chain that has caused ripples of enthusiasm over its impending arrival in Charlottesville, will present a mostly windowless expanse of stone and masonry to the intersection of U.S. 29 and Hydraulic Road, according to architectural renderings released in advance of a meeting of Albemarle County's Architectural Review Board.

Replacing the now-shuttered 7-Eleven store at that high-profile location, the Trader Joe's would serve as one of the anchors of the Stonefield development, a massive shopping center whose planned 14-screen Regal Cinema received criticism– before its eventual approval by the ARB last month– for presenting its own 320 feet of grey stucco further west along Hydraulic.

Originally pitched as a mixed-use community that would have put as much space under roof as two Downtown Malls into its "town center," Stonefield has reportedly won the option to delete its planned housing component.

Most recently, a member of the ARB reviled the overall site plan as "anti-urban" and criticized the design for orienting the Regal cinema's better features toward its parking lots and for attempting, with synthetic stucco and metal panels, merely to "dress up its backside."

The comments, ...

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The bully pulpit: Documentary explores VQR tragedy

Last summer, the tragic suicide of Virginia Quarterly Review managing editor Kevin Morrissey, who made a 911 call reporting his own shooting down by the Coal Tower on former UVA president John Casteen's last official day in office, made national headlines, including a segment on the Today show, which revealed a troubled office environment at the award-winning magazine and launched a discussion of so-called "workplace bullying."

That caught the attention of New York City-based documentary filmmaker Beverly Peterson, a former bullying victim herself, who has devoted herself to telling these kinds of stories. Almost as soon as the VQR story broke, she called the VQR offices.

"Our arrival was delayed a few weeks when the Today show segment came out and no one wanted to talk on camera anymore," says Peterson. "I was pretty surprised at the way the story was framed in that segment, so of course it only intrigued me more as events continued to unfold in both the press and the comment boards."

Eventually, Peterson managed to get just about everyone connected with the story on camera, including VQR editor Ted Genoways, whom former VQR employee Waldo Jaquith had accused on the Today segment of treating Morrissey "egreg...

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Anti-Mormon? Sherlock Holmes yanked from reading list

After a parent complained that it gave a negative portrayal of her Mormon religion, the Albemarle County School Board voted unanimously in agreement with a committee's recommendation to remove A Study in Scarlet, the first of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries, from acceptable texts for teaching language arts to 6th grade readers.

With a 200-signature petition, over a dozen former Henley Middle School students appeared before the Board at its August 11 meeting to urge retention of the controversial story set in 19th century Utah.

The effort failed, as the committee agreed with complaining parent Brette Stephenson that the story contained "religious bias." Board member Diantha McKeel noted that since the school system seeks "age-appropriate" works of literature, the novel can still be taught at the 10th grade level.

Another speaker told the board that a child was recently asked on a school bus if the child had multiple moms, an apparent reference to the now officially banned Mormon practice of polygamy. The committee lamented the fact that some Mormon characters in the novel practice kidnapping, murder, and stalking.

"It could put a group of our students," said board member Eric Strucko, "in an unfair situation."

Later in the meeting, the Board voted to defer action on a plan to erect...

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