Charlottesville Breaking News

Why Waldorf? No vaccines lets measles hit hard

Did they fear an autism link or were they adhering to the Waldorf school founder's opposition to vaccines? Whatever their reason, the parents of the measles-infected Charlottesville Waldorf School student chose not to vaccinate, and they've now experienced the repercussion of leaving their child susceptible to an illness that was virtually erased 40 years ago. It's been gone from this country so long, says one health official, that many people don't remember measles as a potentially fatal illness.

"It's not in their mind anymore, so they're more afraid of the vaccine than the diseases," says Dr. Lillian Peake, head of the Thomas Jefferson Health District, who confirms that three of the four local people who contracted measles last month– including two children– hadn't been vaccinated. (The vaccination history of the fourth, says Peake, is unknown.)

Measles arrived in Charlottesville in May via an adult female who contracted the illness on a trip to India, says Peake. It wasn't long before that woman– who was hospitalized with complications from the respiratory virus famous for its signature rash– had spread the disease to a group that may be more vulnerable to such preventable disease: students at the Waldorf School.

Founded in the early 20th century by Austrian philosopher Rudolph Steiner, the Waldorf educational method is often praised for inspiring creativity and morality in its students  and...

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Whole Foods goes affordable (for a day anyway)

For passerbys on Sunday morning, it may have appeared as if Whole Foods had been taken over by a mob of Toyota Prius owners armed with reusable shopping bags.

With a new and highly-anticipated store opening this Tuesday in the K-Mart shopping center on Hydraulic Road, Whole Foods offered a Black Friday-style sale on the morning  of June 5 with 50 percent off everything in the entire store (except booze) in order to clear the shelves before moving day.

Soccer-moms and bargain-shoppers came out in droves for the 8am opening at Shoppers World shopping center on U.S. 29, with some eager patrons lining up as early as 6am in order to get first dibs at the place whose prices sometimes get it called "Whole Paycheck."

Some shelves were cleared within minutes of the opening, and the lines to check out (even the lines just to get in the building) remained ample for hours.

No fights or injuries reported by press time.

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Waste War II? Van der Linde Recycling boldly attacked

After fending off a former employee-turned-extortionist, a $20 million government-filed RICO lawsuit, and dozens of bogus complaints filed with the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, recycling entrepreneur Peter Van der Linde thought the "waste war" was over. But a Memorial Day weekend attack has sabotaged his entire fleet of trucks and tractors– and taken that war to a new level.

"This wasn't a shot across the bow; they were trying to take us out," says Van der Linde, noting that not a single vehicle was left operable.

According to the silver-haired entrepreneur, who discovered the damage when he came to work on Monday morning, May 30, all 26 company vehicles on site had been disabled with holes gouged in radiators, gas tanks, and hydraulic lines.

"This was pretty hardcore," says Van der Linde, describing the attack as demonstrating "SWAT-like precision."

The spillage of fuel, hydraulic fluid, and anti-freeze was so severe that the Virginia DEQ really needed to be called this time– to oversee cleanup of the contaminated soil.

In addition to the tens of thousands of dollars he thinks will be spent for property clean-up and vehicle repair, Van der Linde– who says he's waiting for an exact estimate– notes that he plans to shell out even more money for a surveillance system to prevent future at...

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Fire ruins CAT bus

A Charlottesville Area Transit bus appears to be a near-total loss after a Thursday morning fire. News reports indicate that nobody was injured in the June 2 blaze which completely destroyed the engine compartment of the full-size bus and occurred downtown on Water Street near the Lexis Nexis building.

City spokesperson Ric Barrick says the vehicle was heading to the Downtown Transit Station around 9:15am when the operator noticed smoke coming from the rear. There was just one passenger, who, like the operator, exited safely. Barrick says the investigation indicates that a broken fuel-line and engine heat led to the combustion.

–story updated 2:10pm on Tuesday, June 7

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4BETTER or worse: The week in review

Worst week for baby deaths: The family of year-old Camora Latay Wicks raises money May 30 to pay for a $4,000 funeral to bury the baby, whose cause of death is undisclosed. Ramon Turley, 18, is charged with second-degree murder. And on May 21, an unresponsive one-year-old is airlifted from a foster home in the 5000-block of Jefferson Mill Road in Scottsville and pronounced dead at UVA Medical Center. Police are investigating that death, the Daily Progress reports.

Worst bus crash: Four people are dead and more injured on I-95 about 30 miles north of Richmond when a commercial tour bus overturns and lands on its roof early May 31.

Worst law enforcement rampage: Franklin County deputy Jonathan Agee, 32, is accused of fatally shooting his wife at a Roanoke Sheetz May 30 and wounding a state trooper who gave chase.  Additional troopers surround and fire upon Agee, whose wounds are life threatening, WSLS reports.

Worst time to go shopping at Kohl's: The department store is closed for nearly three hours May 24 after an envelope containing a white powder is discovered in the parking lot. Haz-mat specialists determine the mysterious substance is not harmful.

Biggest gho...

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Editor's Note
4Better Or Worse