Charlottesville Breaking News

Fitting end: Final 'Potter' lives up to hype

After seven earlier films reaching back a decade, the Harry Potter saga comes to a solid and satisfying conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. The finale conjures up enough awe and solemnity to serve as an appropriate finale and a dramatic contrast to the light-hearted (relative) innocence of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone all those magical years ago.

Harry, Hermione and Ron are grown up now, and Harry has even grown the facial stubble required of all epic heroes. The time has come for him to face Lord Voldemort in their final showdown, and their conflict is staged in a series of special effects sequences containing power and conviction. I am still not sure what the bolts discharged by magic wands actually consist of, but never mind: They look wicked and lethal.

I dare not reveal a single crucial detail about the story itself, lest I offend the Spoiler Police, who have been on my case lately. Besides, you never know: Maybe they've completely rewritten J.K. Rowling's final book in the series. Maybe Harry dies, Voldemort is triumphant, and evil reigns. Full review.

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The Lodge: Old Trail for older folks

Back in 2008, developer David Hilliard began his "Lodge at Old Trail" project, a senior living community in the heart of Old Trail Village in Crozet. He was hoping to create what he calls a multi-generational community, where seniors who wish to live independently or need assisted living or special medical services can live among their children and grandchildren. Now dirt has been moved, foundations poured, and steel framing has been going up fast, bringing the project closer to reality. 

No thanks to the Albemarle County Service Authority, however, which refused to budge on a policy under which water and sewer connection fees can be paid only once a building permit is issued.

Hilliard and other developers had tried to persuade the Authority to allow them to pre-pay for service connections, but the board said no, a decision that has ended up costing Hilliard over $500,000. That's because back in 2008, the connection fee for the 126 units was around $200,000. When the development ran into delays, no permit was issued, and today, the connection cost is around $700,000.

Still, Hilliard appears to be trying to use the situation to his advantage, emphasizing in a recent release that the development will not only bring jobs to the area (100 by the time the place is finished), but the recent payment of the connection fee has added nearly three quarters of a million bucks to the Authority. So this...

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Plan B denied: Emergency contraception comes under fire

It was late spring when Kim Simmons approached the Kmart pharmacy seeking the over-the-counter emergency contraceptive Plan B. In her 40s and the mother of a 22-year-old son, Simmons says she and her boyfriend practiced safe sex but had experienced a prior night condom failure that Simmons feared could put her health in jeopardy.

"If I become pregnant, it could kill me," says Simmons, citing an existing medical condition.

What began as mild embarrassment over the $40 purchase soon turned to anger as the pharmacist on duty refused to ring up her purchase.

"He said, 'I'm not going to sell it to you,'" Simmons recalls of pharmacist Kevin Wright, who, Simmons says, described himself as a "conscientious objector."

"He told me there were plenty of other stores I could get it," says Simmons, who left Kmart and purchased the drug across the street at Kroger. Months later, however, she remains outraged.

"He was trying to control my body," says Simmons. "I would never want to have an abortion, but by him denying me [Plan B], I could have been faced with that decision."

Citing corporate policy, Wright declined comment, but according to Illinois-based Kmart corporate spokesperson Kimberly Freely, Kmart– like other pharmacies– allows its pharmacists to decline the sales of any medications to which they object on moral or religious grounds as long as they direct the customer to a another pharmacist or empl...

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Trumped up: Kluge bankruptcy means all signs point to Donald

Patricia Kluge has always had a knack for strategic moves, so why should her personal bankruptcy be any different?

As lenders converged to seize her winery and her beloved 45-room Albemarle House, she found a way to seize an opportunity– to get a longtime chum who also happens to be America's top dealmaker to deliver a new message: This land is now… The Donald's land.

That's the point conveyed by dozens of no-trespassing signs recently erected by the man who turned "You're fired!" into a catch-phrase and whose books on real estate include such titles as How to Get Rich and the memorable Think Big and Kick Ass.

Donald Trump has brought his hard-bargaining style to the Charlottesville area.

By purchasing the fields surrounding Albemarle House and letting the grass grow high, Trump (as first reported by the Wall Street Journal) has begun sending sly signals to prospective buyers that the 23,000 square-foot mansion might have many luxurious amenities. But a front yard is not one of them.

"This is one of the most interesting plats of a home I've ever seen in my life," says Charlottesville real estate broker Roger Voisinet, as he eyes a map of the property which shows that Albemarle House sits on a gerrymandered lot offering less lawn than any starter home in Forest Lakes.

"It's most illogical and unmarketable," says Voisinet. "I can't see anyone buying it."

Actually, there is someone uniquel...

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Sexually offended: Grabber gets 8 months

The man who reached under a woman's skirt and grabbed her genitalia outside Club 216 last fall was sentenced to eight months in jail.

Antoine Rashard Anderson, 29, was found guilty of sexual battery, a misdemeanor, May 31 after Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Edward Hogshire rejected a charge of attempted object penetration, a Class 4 felony.

On July 7, he received a 12-month sentence with four months suspended. Anderson also was found guilty of public drunkenness, and ordered to not consume alcohol for a year.

"I was pretty happy with that," says the victim, Caitlin Mahoney, 24. "I was expecting something like three months."

Mahoney was outraged that such an intimate assault was a misdemeanor, and says she's talked to state legislators about changing the statute on sexual battery, which she believes is outdated.

"You can molest someone and not be on the sexual offender registry," says Mahoney. "That doesn't make sense to me."

She calls Anderson's behavior "outrageous," and thinks such attacks are a serious problem in Charlottesville.

And since the attack, "things have changed for me in a bad way," says Mahoney. "I'm not comfortable out in public alone– even though I wasn't alone that night."

"We felt this case warranted treatment as a felony," says prosecutor Matthew Quatrara.

"Misdemeanor sexual batteries...

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