Charlottesville Breaking News

The week in review

Best example of too little, too late: Five weeks after an unannounced, late-night June 8 vote that resurrects the controversial U.S. 29 Western Bypass, the Albemarle Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing July 13.

Latest setback at the former Albemarle Place: The Architectural Review Board decries the generic facade proposed for the Regal Cinema and Trader Joe's at the generically renamed Stonefield on one of the area's most prominent intersections– U.S. 29 and Hydraulic Road– and an entrance corridor, as well, Charlottesville Tomorrow reports.

Latest in Westhaven shooting: Brandon M. Jackson, 21, is charged with involuntary manslaughter in the February 3 death of David "Gundo" Cowan, 30. Jackson turns himself in to police June 28, according to a release.

Latest Daily Progress furloughs: Parent company Media General is again asking– wait– telling employees to take off 15 unpai...

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Rugby ousting: Leaders say Zete not worth its salt

"Thank you, sir, may I have another?"–Kevin Bacon in Animal House

Members of the University of Virginia's recently-ousted fraternity should be grateful for their punishment, according to an open letter from a house official in which he discusses the disbanding of the local chapter of Zeta Psi in the wake of a springtime hazing that seriously injured a student.

"The University has taken a very measured and thorough approach," wrote fraternity house corporation president Charlie Kollmansperger. "The Administration did not reach its conclusion lightly."

In his letter to parents, friends, and fraternity alumni posted at a UVA Alumni Association website, Kollmansperger revealed that a review of emails and other information suggested a cover-up of the March incident that hospitalized a pledge for several days.

"We were disappointed to review hard evidence indicating that the account of that evening given to us by the [fraternity members] was inaccurate and incomplete," wrote Kollmansperger.

With its chapter established at UVA in 1868, "Zete" was one of the oldest fraternities on Grounds. Members, drawn largely from East Coast prep schools, have been known to have the organization's Greek letters seared onto a forearm with a branding iron. But the Rugby Road revelry began winding down i...

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For $7.5 million: Defaulting Bundoran claimed on courthouse steps

Bundoran, a defaulted open-space-oriented development in southern Albemarle, was taken away from its developer June 29 on the courthouse steps when the lender, Wells Fargo, valued it at $7.5 million. There were no other bids at the Wednesday afternoon auction. Subsequent to the foreclosure, the developer announced that it would continue developing– just with Wells Fargo as the owner.

"We know they'll be good stewards," said Charles Adams of Celebration Associates, a firm which had been a 50/50 owner of this so-called "preservation development" near the village of North Garden. The other owner was Qroe Preservation, a New England-based concern that began developing the farm as Edge Valley Preservation LLC. Adams said he did not know the amount of the debt but conceded that the property had been in default for "over a year."

The foreclosure is just the latest in a trio of setbacks that began with tragedy on a rainy day in 2006, when a small private airplane carrying Qroe founder Robert H. Baldwin and piloted by Qroe associate David Brown crashed in fog, unable to find the grass landing strip on the property. Both men died.

After that, the real estate market deflated, causing the place to go an entire year without a single sale, according to a candid inter...

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Goodbye, old manse: BOS dooms 140-year-old church building

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...

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Protester removal: Boar's Head denies ordering trespassing arrest

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...

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