Charlottesville Breaking News

Parkway panic: Rooker vexed as Dorrier rekindles Bypass

Taking the reins from the late Charlotte Humphris, Dennis Rooker built his political career on fighting the Western Bypass, a much-maligned planned freeway that would rip through hills and neighborhoods just west of Charlottesville. And Wednesday night at 11:35pm, according to a Tweet by Charlottesville Tomorrow's Sean Tubbs, retiring Albemarle Supervisor Lindsay Dorrier flipped his vote from just a week earlier to let the Bypass live.

The Bypass earned infamy because it was designed in the early 1990s before much of the northern U.S. 29 development had occurred and before its price tag skyrocketed to something around $270 million. Its high per-mile cost, its inability to get around those northern suburbs, and VDOT's own research suggesting that 90 percent of existing 29 traffic is local led a national group called Taxpayers for Common Sense to name it one of the most wasteful road projects in the nation.

However, business leaders in Lynchburg and Danville have long complained that Charlottesville remains an expensive bottleneck for trucking operations that in 2005 won a bypass around the Lynchburg suburb of Madison Heights.

Around 2006, a pair of prominent Charlottesvillians proposed a cars-only alternative called the Ruckersville Parkway, but that died almost as quickly as it was born.

One thing that must be weighing on the minds of Virginia Department of...

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What do you think about false confessions?

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Double recantation: Is an innocent man in jail for the Crozet murders?

It was the crime that rocked Crozet: a mother found stabbed to death in bed, her three-year-old son dead from the smoke of a cover-up fire. Amid whispers of witchcraft, four neighborhood teens were arrested, and three are doing time today in state prisons.

One of them, Rocky Fugett, now 27, admits he was there that night in 2003, for which he was convicted along with his sister and another neighborhood kid. Eight years later, Fugett says an innocent man is serving time for something he didn't do, and that man– Robert Davis– wasn't even there.

Davis' attorney, Steve Rosenfield, has long maintained that his client was coerced into a false confession, and with Fugett recanting, Rosenfield now seeks clemency from the governor. Fugett, serving a 75-year sentence on a guilty plea, says he has nothing to gain from changing his story.

As the clemency petition heads to Richmond, accounts differ and questions remain. But Rocky Fugett has another bombshell allegation: that another personplayed a key role in the events of that fateful night.

Crozet Crossing

Named for the peach trees that once grew there, Cling Lane is a cul-de-sac of 30 homes tucked between the railroad tracks and the older homes of Orchard Acres. Officially known as Crozet Crossing, the subdivision was planned in the early 1990s to provide first-time home ownership for hardworking families.

Much like ...

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The week in review

Greatest disparity in sentencing in Lousia: Remone J. Houchens robs, brutally beats and blinds an 87-year-old woman and is sentenced June 1 to 30 years. That same day, Canadian Alan Sauve, 48, is convicted of 22 counts of soliciting a minor and gets a 110-year prison sentence.

Grimmest mountaintop discovery: A Suzuki hatchback 500 feet below Horsehead Overlook on the Skyline containing the body of a Farmville woman is found June 2, NBC29 reports. Authorities later identified her as Lisa Baughman, 53.

Hottest bus: A Charlottesville Area Transit vehicle bursts into flame June 1 on Water Street when, according to reports, a broken fuel line ignites. Nobody was hurt.

Worst train casualty: A CSX train eastbound in Scottsville strikes a person on the tracks around 2am June 1. Determining it to be a suicide, police release no further information.

 

Worst dispute between neighbors: Vernon Leroy Shifflett is found guilty of voluntary manslaughter in the shooting of his neighbor, Gifford "Trix" Crawford, and sentenced to six mon...

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Since 2010: Kaine makes first Biscuit Run comment

Since the revelation that a potentially hyperinflated appraisal could have defrauded Virginia taxpayers out of millions of dollars, former governor Tim Kaine has now made his first public statements on the state's controversial purchase of what will eventually become Biscuit Run State Park. And he's still enthusiastic.

"I thought it was a very good deal," Kaine says.

Appearing calm and well-briefed on the issue, the now U.S. Senate hopeful paused briefly with reporters after a fundraising lunch at a Charlottesville restaurant on Tuesday, June 7 to answer questions.

Kaine says that only the $9.8 million cash purchase price and not the millions in appraisal-dependent tax credits– which he says the sellers tried to amass after the transaction– were part of his gubernatorial calculus.

"We made no deal on the tax credits," says Kaine. "That is something the tax department does."

As the Hook has reported, a group of deep-pocketed speculators– including millionaire bank founder Hunter Craig and music mogul Coran Capshaw–  unloaded the troubled property on the state in late 2009 after their plans for housing flopped.

According to leaked documents, the group tried to snag over $30 million in tax credits by claiming– just four and a half years and one popped bubble after buying it– that...

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