Charlottesville Breaking News

Beggars' ban-writ: Is panhandling law unconstitutional?

Is Charlottesville's ordinance banning panhandling near the Downtown Mall crossings and from patrons at cafés unconstitutional? That's what the attorney behind a lawsuit filed last Thursday morning in federal court alleges.

"You cannot set up the Downtown Mall as Disneyland and keep all the realities of America away from public discourse," says the attorney, Jeffrey Fogel, who worked in conjunction with the Virginia ACLU to help several frequent downtown beggars launch a legal battle over Constitutional rights.

"Anyone who walks on the Downtown Mall has seen someone seated with his back up against the wall, simply holding up a sign saying, 'I'm poor, homeless, and need help.' How is that harming anyone?" asks Fogel. "The answer is: it isn't, and it's protected by the U.S. Constitution."

The June 23 lawsuit asserting that the City's ordinance violates both the First and Fourteenth Amendments doesn't come out of left field. In fact, Fogel suggested he was considering a lawsuit late last fall when City Council revised its ordinance to ban solicitation of any kind within 50 feet of the Downtown Mall crossings. The new ordinance also prohibits soliciting "from or to" anyone sitting in a café or exchanging money with one of the numerous downtown vendors. That language, the suit alleges, is too vague, making it a violation of the Due Process C...

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Love triangle? Murder-for-hire certified to grand jury

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...

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Left is right: Zion Crossroads to get innovative interchange

The ever-increasing traffic at Zion Crossroads, where U.S. 15 and Interstate 64 meet, means that it's time for a new interchange, and what the Virginia Department of Transportation has planned is a French import, a novel traffic configuration called the "diverging diamond."

Two selling points are that it can handle more traffic than a traditional diamond, and it eats less land than a cloverleaf. The odd part is that it makes vehicles momentarily drive on the left side of a divided highway. While that's not something to which Americans are accustomed, a VDOT video seems to make it look smooth, as there are no left turns across traffic.

America got its first diverging diamond in 2009 in Missouri, now home to three of them, while Utah and Tennessee each have one. A public hearing on the design for the one planned for Zion Crossroads was held June 22, with the $7.95 million, federally funded project slated to get under way next year.

In the world of unconventional traffic devices, Charlottesville's Meadowcreek Parkway was once considered for a roundabout-centric interchange after then County Supervisor Forrest Marshall delivered a $27 million earmark from Washington in 2005. But in 2008, concerns over cost, land,...

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How are you traveling this summer?

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The week in review

Latest in the Western 29 Bypass resurrection: City Council votes 4-0 June 20 to oppose the controversial roadway. After a more than 10-year hiatus, the bypass revived June 8 at the end of a late-night Albemarle Board of Supervisors meeting.

Biggest foreclosure: "Preservation development" Bundoran Farm in North Garden goes on the block June 29, the Daily Progress reports.

Biggest paychecks: A power failure results in around 800 Charlottesville employees who have direct deposit getting paid twice– and many of those get an email warning not to spend the extra money, according to the Progress.

Biggest bathroom break: Ethyle Cole Giuseppe, 92, donates $100,000 to build a permanent bathroom at Greene County Community Park, the Greene County Record reports.

Most rabid: An infected raccoon sinks its teeth into the leg of hiker Kalie Sealander, 22, while in Shenandoah National Park, according to NBC29. Sealander has finished her rabies shots....

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