Charlottesville Breaking News

Gunning for Garrett: Two challengers vie for 8-year, $112K job

City School Board member and assistant public defender Llezelle Dugger will run for Charlottesville Circuit Court clerk, the second Democrat to challenge incumbent Paul Garrett, who's held the clerk job for 30 years.

"About three years ago, I started to seriously think about it," says Dugger. "I talked to Mr. Garrett and asked if he planned to retire. He said no."

Seeking his fourth eight-year term, the 65-year-old Garrett has been contested before, but Dugger may be the first challenger to talk candidly about alleged problems with his office. As a defense attorney, Dugger says she's grown frustrated by allegedly slow paperwork-processing.

"We're still waiting for final sentencing orders from 2010 and some from 2009," says Dugger, noting that it's not just a matter of convenience. For criminals facing sentences over a year in length, those orders are necessary to move from the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail to state prisons.

"What is the cost to us as a city to house folks?" asks Dugger.

In 2007, Garrett came under fire when a woman was kept in prison for a month because the paperwork that would have freed her was misplaced. That incident was followed by an emergency hearing for a man ...

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What do you know about Jack Jouett?

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Bad romance: 'Something' isn't quite right

One of the curious problems with Something Borrowed is that Kate Hudson's performance is too effective. She plays Darcy, the lifelong best friend of the heroine, Rachel (Ginnifer Goodwin). Blond, rich and headstrong, Darcy always gets her way in their relationship. And as the film opens she's about to be married to Dex (Colin Egglesfield), whom Rachel has had a crush on since law school. No good can come of this.
    The plot mechanics are more or less inevitable. Thrown together again as the ceremony approaches, Rachel and Dex realize they have always been in love. But what to do? Rachel doesn't want to hurt her best friend. And Dex has a mother who struggles with depression; only the marriage seems capable of cheering her up.
    To be married as an aid to someone else's mental health calls, I think, your own into question. This is especially true because the depressed mother (Jill Eikenberry) doesn't have a single line in the movie, and is seen only looking sad sometimes and happy sometimes. I believe, but cannot be sure, that a surprise decision made late in the film is triggered by her single ambivalent expression. Full review.

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Midnight rider: How Jack Jouett saved Virginia

It was the evening of June 3, 1781– a Sunday– and war was on its way to Charlottesville.

Nearly forty miles to the east, at Cuckoo Tavern, John Jouett Jr. had finished dinner and gone outside to catch a few winks. Because of the oppressive late spring heat and the food and drink sitting heavily in his gut, “Jack,” as his friends called him, was soon fast asleep despite the revelry droning on in the background. Jouett was curled up under a great elm near the tavern’s picket fence, the only thing separating him from the county road.

A couple of hours before midnight, he was startled awake. Although Jouett was a strapping figure and an excellent horseman, the sight he saw as he peered into the moonlight toward the steadily approaching clatter had to be absolutely terrifying: a 250-man raiding party filling the dusty roadway for about 200 yards. At the head trotted the green-jacketed horsemen whose very name had grown infamous: the British Legion.

They were dragoons– horsemen armed and drilled to also fight dismounted— who were crown loyalists from New Jersey, Philadelphia, and New York City. A year earlier at the Battle of Waxhaws in South Carolina, these same cavalrymen– hardened Americans who had sworn allegiance to King George– had hacked their way through Virginia Continentals attempting to s...

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Buzz driving: Council candidate learns from DUI

The race for City Council has barely begun, and candidate James Halfaday is already getting heat. The 31-year-old Native American and Democrat doesn't flinch when he's asked about his criminal record or when WINA's Rob Schilling calls him "Chicken Halfaday."

But then, Halfaday is no political novice. He was elected to City Council in his hometown of Dunfermline, Illinois, when he was just 18. And perhaps even more indicative of his determination, this owner of the local franchise of Snap Fitness decided that at 377 pounds he weighed too much and lost more than 180 pounds.

So when a reporter asks him about a 2003 DUI when he was a student at Western Illinois University, Halfaday readily admits his deed, which occurred on St. Patrick's Day, when a then 23-year-old Halfaday barely blew a .08.

"I shouldn't have been drinking," he says, "I've learned from that," he says. "That's why I don't drink. I drink milk instead. I can tell people a DUI is not worth it."

The Western Courier, the newspaper of Western Illinois University, lists two other arrests for Halfaday from that era: a disorderly conduct charge and an arrest for open container.

Halfaday says he wasn't really arrested for disorderly conduct, that that was a mistake in the records. As for the open container, he says he violated a campus ban on toting a six-pack. "I always chuckle when someone says you were ar...

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