Charlottesville Breaking News
On April 20, the County Board of Supervisors approved the demolition of a 140-year-old church building in Keswick, a decision that would appear to run contrary to one of the goals of the County's Comprehensive Plan, which is to protect historic resources in the rural areas. Indeed, according to County planning staff, the planned demolition was one of the "unfavorable factors" of a plan to build a new facility on the site of historic South Plains Presbyterian Church site, a new structure approved in 2009 and dedicated in June.
What's more, it appears the fate of the doomed building, a circa 1870 "manse," or home for the pastor, was sealed two years ago when the Supervisors approved a plan to build the new church facility in front of it, despite a compromise crafted to retain the original building.
Founded in 1819, South Plains is one of the oldest Presbyterian churches in the County and the "mother" church of Charlottesville's First Presbyterian. Originally a simple, one-room, bathroom-less brick structure, it was later altered to incorporate Gothic Revival features and a vestibule. Along with the adjacent manse, the property has offered a familiar postcard-like scene at the intersection of Louisa and Black Cat Roads.
The new facility was finally dedicated in June, allowing the congregation, which has been worshiping at the old church continuously for nearly 200 years, to realize a dream they've had for over a decade, and for which they raise...
Protesters along the street in Charlottesville are not an unusual sight. Out on U.S. 250 west in front of the entrance of the upscale Boar's Head Inn, demonstrators are more unusual– and so was the response when Dominion Virginia Power held its shareholders meeting there May 12.
Chris Walters, 57, a carpenter and environmentalist, had gotten an email about the People’s Alliance for Clean Energy rally on the morning of Dominion's meeting, and he decided to demonstrate his disdain for mountaintop removal, a type of strip mining that some consider an environmental nightmare because of the damage it does. The protesters hoped to sway shareholders going into the meeting to consider other types of renewable energy and to nix more nuclear power plants.
Instead, someone called the cops and insisted that the demonstrators were on private land and had to leave, according to Walters.
"When the police started asking people to move to the other side of the road," says Walters, "I started walking away."
He headed west and says he was standing between the white stripe of the road and a guardrail when an Albemarle police officer allegedly said, "You have to leave; it's private property," says Walters. "I said, no it isn't. He said yes it is." And when Walters refused to leave the side of the road, he was arrested for trespassing.
Rutherford Institute founder John Whitehead is i...
In the long-running tragi-comedy over the local waterworks' desire to avoid dredging its main reservoir and instead build a sparkly new reservoir, two factoids emerge from the pages of the upcoming board meeting packet:
- 2011 water use is on track to match a record low
- getting a proposal to dredge the reservoir could cost over $220,000
Avid readers may recall that the Hook once covered the monthly calisthenics of this dredge-averse body, but after its board decided to ignore its own figures of plummeting water use and inflated dredging estimates– remember the Panama Canal pricing?– we moved on to other topics.
Nearly two years ago, the RWSA board hired Schnabel Engineering to design a new dam to focus all water storage efforts in one place, and after a 3-2 turnabout by City Council (the only government crying foul on that plan), all the stars seem to be lining up to begin dam construction this fall.
Even if it's not needed.
New data show that the community is using one fifth less water than a decade ago. The latest figures show use of just 8.72 million gallons a day during first five months of 2011. That's 20 percent less than the 10.91 million gallons a day drawn during the first five months of 2001 and just 0.02 mil...
The woman accused of seeking a hitman to kill her late husband's girlfriend has waived her preliminary hearing, so her solicitation-to-commit murder charge goes to the grand jury. Linda Faye Currier McDaniel, 62, had also been charged with solicitation to commit arson, but that charge was dropped during the June 23 hearing in Albemarle General District Court.
McDaniel was arrested April 17 in the alleged murder-for-hire plot and was later released on bail.
The plot came to light when a man acquainted with both the alleged intended killer and her alleged intended victim notified the latter that he been approached to make the hit.
The arrest came just about a week after the April 11 death of Jessie Edward McDaniel, 62, to whom Mrs. McDaniel wrote that she was married for 32 years in the guest book of Mr. McDaniel's obituary. The obituary itself, however, omits any mention of Mrs. McDaniel and instead describes as "the love of his life" Joyce Broderick, the alleged intended victim.
The man who may serve as state's key witness is William "Billy" Marshall, according to Assistant Commonwealth's Attorney Jon Zug. Marshall was approached by Mrs. McDaniel with an offer to kill Broderick and burn down her mobile home on McCauley Court. No fire...