Charlottesville Breaking News

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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Downward dog days: New yoga biz stretches outdoors

The options for doing yoga in Charlottesville already run the gamut from relaxing Hatha to vigorous Ashtanga to oh-so-sweaty Bikram, performed in a heated room. Jacqueline Wilde saw an opportunity to stretch the offerings even further with a new business that'll have participants downward dogging in outdoor public spaces around town.

"I'm targeting yoga toward beginners," says Wilde, a 27-year-old second-year Darden student who launched the appropriately named Pop Up Yoga this month with several free classes held in public spaces and parks around town.

So far, she says, the reception has been warm.

"I prefer being outside, says Anthony Zammitt, a 32-year-old longtime martial arts practitioner who was trying yoga for the first time with Wilde on Saturday morning, July 9 at the Charlottesville City Market. The style of the Pop Up classes– "Vinyasa flow"– is a gentle form that has participants move steadily through various poses stressing flexibility and breathing.

Another free Pop Up class will take place at Washington Park on Friday, July 15 at 8am, and several other classes listed on the website,, will be held in the next coming weeks for the usual $10 fee.

In addition to the scheduled classes– Wilde hopes to have several instructors teaching as many as 15 per week– Wilde is also encouraging class members to use her "Yoga on Demand" feature, which...

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Topped off: Convenience store owner is Fuel's high bidder

After a spirited bidding war that included half-million-dollar-plus bids from one of Charlottesville's best-known developers and from the company that may have created the concept of the upscale filling station, a heretofore low-profile business owner made the winning bid for the long-closed Fuel Co. station in a July 14 foreclosure auction.

Located on Market Street at the northern terminus of the Belmont Bridge, the .31-acre site was once heralded as the vanguard in a new wave of upscale gas stations. But after the Thursday morning auction, it appears on its way to trade hands for about half its assessed value.

With a winning bid of $580,000, Subhash "Sam" Desai outbid developer Keith Woodard and David Sutton, leader of Tiger Fuel, the petroleum company that, with its Bellair Market, appears to have pioneered the notion of selling fancy foods at gas stations.

"There are a lot of problems with the property," said Sutton, explaining why he halted his bids at $575,000. "This has been a gas station for 30 or 40 years, so there's no telling what's in the ground."

A state Department of Environmental Quality employee attended the auction, and auction leader Nancy Schlichting took the unusual step of giving the winning bidder a chance for a study period, which will allow him to back out if environmental problems are found. Schlichting is allowing...

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