Charlottesville Breaking News

Where's Waldo? At the White House, in your computer... where *isn't* Waldo?

Where's Waldo? It's a clichéd question to ask about a man by that name, but in the case of Waldo Jaquith– who so resembles the famous find-the-character cartoon that he changed his first name to match– it's irresistible.
Hey! There's Waldo in court as a teenager, launching a lawsuit against local government! Look, he's on the red carpet at the My VH1 Music Awards! What's he doing all by himself on the Appalachian Trail at age 17? Psst. Turn on the TV and there's Waldo on the Today show talking about workplace bullying! And wait a minute, isn't that Waldo popping up at the White House just a few weeks ago?

Indeed, for a guy who claims he abhors the spotlight, it's eerie how he keeps stumbling– haplessly, he insists– into the national media glare. His most recent honor? A $165,000 national journalism grant to make the Virginia State Code more accessible.

"I figured I had a 1 in 100 chance of winning," says Jaquith, sitting in a stately conference room in UVA's Miller Center, the political thinktank where he's worked as a web developer since leaving the Virginia Quarterly Review following the July 2010 suicide of its managing editor and the ensuing high profile controversy over workplace bullying that brought Today to Charlottesville.

Shaking his head with a smile and a look of wide-eyed wonder, the no-longer bespectacled Jaquith– once dubbed enfant terrible by local media during his teenaged...

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Unfunny and foul: 'Change-up' your plans before seeing this

The Change-Up is one of the dirtiest-minded mainstream releases in history. It has a low opinion of men, a lower opinion of women, and the lowest opinion of the intelligence of its audience. It is obscene, foul-mouthed, scatological, creepy and perverted. As a bonus, it has the shabbiest low-rent main titles I've seen this side of YouTube. 

It is a body switch comedy. You remember those. There must have been dozens. Through some sort of magic, two characters find themselves occupying each other's bodies, or their own bodies at different ages. This can be charming, as when Tom Hanks did it in Big or Jodie Foster in Freaky Friday. And remember Francis Coppola's Peggy Sue Got Married, with Kathleen Turner becoming herself as a teenager. 

To mention such movies in connection with this one is a sacrilege. Setting aside considerations of the story, The Change-Up sets out to violate and transgress as many standards of civilized conduct as it can. Don't get me wrong. Faithful readers know I treasure cheerful vulgarity. But readers, I've seen The Hangover, and this is no Hangover. Full review.

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Death penalty? Inmate suicide precedes child porn indictment

An inmate, a soldier who allegedly trafficked in violent child pornography, has been found dead in the solitary ward at the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail. Officials say that Willis E. Coley of Alexandria apparently committed suicide August 2, nearly nine months after his arrest and two weeks away from a federal indictment.

A 27-year-old U.S. Army Specialist, Coley was a military photographer and reporter whose work is featured on numerous websites. But it was his use of another online application that brought the charge that preceded his death.

According to the November 17 complaint filed in U.S. DIstrict Court, a Charlottesville police detective doing undercover work discovered Coley online on a peer-to-peer file sharing service and then convinced him to provide a password to his locked files. According to the complaint, Detective Nicholas Rudman uncovered a video chamber of horrors including one file entitled "6Yo Girl Kidnaped and Raped in Woods.mpg" and another called "9Yo Jenny Blows Dad & Dog.mpg."

The complaint reveals that "Jenny," according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, has been identified. Since 2002, a team of analysts at the Center has, with the aid of law enforcement, identified 3,700 children in such images, according to Center official John Shehan....

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Comprender? Complaint brings Huja confidence vote

It was business as usual during public comment at the July 18 City Council meeting, until one citizen veered from typical issues, such as the Meadowcreek Parkway and the water plan, to raise a new concern, one that stunned councilors and led to accusations of xenophobia, government stifling of free speech, and a parliamentary vote of confidence.

City Council regular Pat Napoleon had finished her comments about the Parkway and used the rest of her three minutes to address another matter:

"I must relay a serious concern relating to a sitting member of Council," said Napoleon. "Others and I have been unable to understand Mr. [Satyendra] Huja's comments at City Council meetings and forums for years. It is the right of citizens to hear and comprehend what is going on during official meetings."

Huja, former Charlottesville director of strategic planning, worked for the city for 27 years and was instrumental in creating the Charlottesville of today with its Downtown Mall, flowers, and trees. He was born in India 69 years ago, elected to City Council in 2007, and seeks a second term at the August 20 Democratic firehouse primary.

Napoleon suggests that any elected officials who could not be understood should hire a translator at their own expense.

"It is crucial citizens...

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Rapture chef makes killer tomato dinner

Tomatoes. Like the potato, humankind has invented a multitude of ways to prepare and eat the darn things. On Sunday, July 31, Rapture chef Chris Humphrey presented his take on the fruit of vegetables, serving up a five-course Tomato Dinner.

"Nothing says summer like tomatoes," says Humphrey, whom some may remember from Fellini's #9, where his calamari rocked the house. "And it's been a great season for tomatoes."

Indeed, some industry experts have called this year's Virginia tomato crop the "best they've ever seen," thanks to the steady warm weather that began in early spring. For Sunday's tomato dinner, Rapture owner Mike Rodi says that he and Humphrey simply went to the Charlottesville City Market on Saturday, loaded the tomatoes in his son's red Radio Flyer wagon, and rolled them back to the restaurant.

Over the five courses, various tomato permutations mingled with scallops, grapefruit, snapper, vodka, pork shoulder, potatoes, garlic, mozzarella cheese, a toasted almond pastry, a light and fruity pinot noir from Oregon, and, believe it or not, pink peppercorn ice cream.

"I'm a sucker for tomatoes," says Humphrey.

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