Charlottesville Breaking News

Zazus wrapped up in robbery

Two masked men— one in a hooded sweatshirt and the other in a Scream mask— robbed Zazus Fresh Grille and assaulted one of its employees on Sunday, June 19. Albemarle County Police responded to an alert at 9:30pm, but when they arrived on the scene, the men had escaped with an undisclosed amount of cash. The assaulted employee sustained minor injuries, but did not require medical attention.

Zazus owner Alison Campbell came to the Ivy Road eatery immediately after the robbery, and was relieved to find her staff was safe.

“I don’t really care about the money,” she says. “The most important thing is that my guys are okay.”

Zazus, known for its healthy wraps, sandwiches, and salads, has been robbed once before, over a decade ago, but this is the first time an employee has been harmed. Campbell has instituted several new safety precautions to prevent such a crime from occurring again.

Zazus was closed for breakfast Monday morning, but has since resumed business as usual. Campbell, who has owned Zazus for seven years, says she is touched by the generous support she has received following the robbery.

“The Zazus community had been amazingly supportive, both emotionally and financially,” she says. “This has not diminished our spirit.”

The investigation is still ongoing, and detectives are following several leads, according to the Albemarle Count...

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Naked Beta: Paintless grafitti bridge gleams (for now)

Struck by an errant University Transit Service bus last October, a nine-foot section of wall on the famed graffiti-laden Beta Bridge was reconstructed last week. Crews not only poured concrete for the replacement swath of the missing barrier, but they peeled back approximately three and half inches of layered paint on an adjacent stretch to help match new to old. All that remains to be installed is an urn-like finial atop the obelisk at the end. The bridge is a popular site for painted messages commemorating everything from pledge parties and birthdays to tragedy at Virginia Tech. The last time the bridge received a peel-back was the fall of 2007.

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JPA bridge fallout: Is Shamrock Road dangerous now?

When Charlottesville resident Lora Kelly and her husband, Eric, purchased a house on Shamrock Road in 2009, its two lanes and mish-mash of missing stretches of sidewalk already created a fear factor. But a momentous April included the City's closure of  nearby Jefferson Park Avenue and the arrival of the couple's first child.

Kelly recounts a recent incident in which she was crossing the street in front of their house with a stroller. While one car stopped for her, the one behind it raced around and almost struck her.

"I would say the road is very dangerous now," says Kelly, who notes there are lots of pedestrians and children on the street but not much in the way of traffic signs or speed humps.

A new $5.8 million bridge slated to replace the nearly 80-year-old structure won't be completed until September 2012. While City traffic engineers prepared for the bridge closure by speeding up a schedule to install a traffic signal at the intersection of Shamrock Road and JPA and upgrading the traffic signal at Shamrock and Cherry Avenue to include mast arms, pedestrian actuation/signals, and ADA-compliant curb ramps, Kelly says the street simply wasn't designed for the traffic it's now carrying.

"There is no break in traffic now, and people don't necessarily stop anymore," sa...

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Farewell, Tuttle House

In the ongoing project to replace 11 residence halls built to accommodate UVA's rapid expansion in the mid-1960s, another has fallen. This time it's Tuttle House, which was completed in 1964 and stood until June 17 at the corner of Alderman Road and Tree House Drive across from the Aquatic & Fitness Center. Like Watson, Balz, and Dobie (each destroyed two years ago), Tuttle housed 144 first-year students in four stories of suites. The replacement buildings– the first of which began rising in 2008 as a smaller prototype called Kellogg House– will typically stand six stories and hold 420 students. In addition to putting more students in the Scott Stadium area, the new residence halls offer air-conditioning instead of the long balconies offered by their predecessors.

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New digs: CFA Inst. taking over old Martha Jeff

The old campus of Martha Jefferson Hospital is getting a new owner that plans to turn the hospital into a job-producing machine– and in the process make the place the first local example of another machine, one that skewers sewer bills and processes waste nearly naturally.

An international financial organization already headquartered in the greater Charlottesville area, the lead tenant is the CFA Institute, a non-profit company that oversees America's financial professionals. And that has state and city governments joyously handing out incentives. If it all works, everyone gets richer (except perhaps Albemarle County, which is the current home to the company).

City officials, especially, are relieved the soon-to-be-vacant hospital– Martha Jeff moves this August– won't become another empty and derelict structure like DeJarnette Sanitorium in Staunton. There's talk of high-paying jobs.

Indeed, as the 2009 tax return (the most recent available) shows, the CFA Institute had 15 positions paying above $300,000, with the top job paying a cool $1.3 million.

The company, which has roots in Charlottesville dating back to the early 1960s, has 105,000 financial professional members worldwide. It's paying $24.5...

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