Charlottesville Breaking News

Performance art? Amtrak stops for allegedly berzerk rider

The man whose alleged actions brought an Amtrak train to a halt in the Nelson County village of Shipman on the morning of June 9 will be spending nearly a week in jail.

Barrett Harrington Wolfe, a 22-year-old Atlanta photographer and self-described "propagandist," racked up five felony and three misdemeanor charges for allegedly assaulting a female passenger and conductor on the Crescent and then kicking two windows out of a county sheriff's department car and attempting a handcuffed escape.

Wolfe bit a deputy and scratched two more, according to Sheriff David Brooks.

"I don't know what his problem was," says Brooks. "He started to get agitated in Georgia. I don't know if it was drugs, but we got paraphernalia off him."

Nelson law enforcers say they had no idea what they were facing when the call came in about a problem on the New Orleans-to-New York passenger train, says Brooks.

"We thought it might be a medical," says Brooks.

It turns out that a female passenger reported getting shoved and knocked down, and the conductor suffered neck and back injuries that hospitalized him for several hours (and could raise the misdemeanor assault charge into a felony if the injuries prove severe), says Brooks.

"What you have is kind of like a hostage situation on the train," says the sheriff. "You can't get off."

Wolfe is a fine art/fantasy photographer. Although he once created a blog called ...

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Toasty: Grammy-winning Arcade Fire fires up hot Pavilion

Last year this time, you might have had a hard time finding anyone who'd heard of Arcade Fire. Their third album, The Suburbs, which was released last year, changed all that in February by winning the Grammy for Album of the Year. On Wednesday June 8, in spite of soaring heat and miserable humidity, a sold-out crowd packed the nTelos Wireless Pavilion to hear the band perform.

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VQR's Genoways: Did bully defense lead to code offense?

After last summer's suicide of Virginia Quarterly Review managing editor Kevin Morrissey, the Hook obtained a series of emails from editor Ted Genoways that revealed "poisonous" tensions between the staff, accusations of "workplace bullying," his banishment of Morrissey and another staff member from the office for unexplained "unacceptable workplace behavior," and his frustration and anger with both colleagues and co-workers. Nearly a year later, another email fired off by Genoways has surfaced– and it could get him in some hot water. 

After Washington Post reporter Daniel de Vise wrote a May 3 story about grieving sister Maria Morrissey speaking at a news conference in support of proposed New York legislation on workplace bullying, Genoways took issue with de Vise's reporting and fired off a stern email to him and his editor Victoria Benning.

"I see that you have, once again, written about me without speaking to me&#8211...

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IRS yanking: Over 150 non-profits lose tax status

This year, you probably won't get a tax deduction for donating to the Bologna Foundation. That local charity, along with the IBM Club, the Save the Fireworks Foundation, Charlottesville Lesbian-Feminists, and Santa Matters– over 150 between the city and county– have lost their non-profit tax status, according to the Internal Revenue Service.

In a national move, the IRS announced June 9 that approximately 275,000 organizations lost such status for allegedly failing to file the requisite annual reports for three consecutive years. A 2006 law allows the IRS to automatically delete such companies from the rolls.

"The IRS believes the vast majority of these organizations are defunct," reads a statement from the IRS.

Loss of tax-exempt status can trigger a wide range of outcomes including property and corporate income taxes, as well as lessening the attraction for donors who are accustomed to earning deductions for gifts.

In making the announcement, the IRS also announced special steps to help any existing-but-deleted organizations apply for reinstatement. Such well-known Charlottesville-based groups as Trout Unlimited, Camp Albemarle, and the Toaster Museum– none of which had a representative immediately available for comment– might want to get a hold of those procedures.

But there may be errors in the IRS records.

"This is all strange," says...

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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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