Charlottesville Breaking News

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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After three decades, Corner Market folds

Say it ain't so! After thirty years, a Corner landmark has quietly vanished: the Corner Market at 1411 University Avenue. The phone has been disconnected, the contents have been emptied, and we've been unable to locate long-time owner Chaney Kent.

"Another chapter in the history of the UVA Corner comes to an end," says unofficial UVA historian Coy Barefoot.

Barefoot, who wrote a best-selling book on the history of The Corner, says that the store traces its roots to 1981 when Peter Johnson bought what had been a newsstand/giftshop from Paul Dunsmore (who also founded the iconic White Spot Diner) and rechristened it as the Corner Market.

Barefoot says that Kent, who started working there in 1986 as a UVA undergrad, bought the shop in 1995. One year ago, Kent was among the Charlottesvillians lamenting the death of Yeardley Love, a customer with a penchant for Diet Cokes.

"The Corner Market closing is likely a victim of CVS," says Barefoot. "But I guess we all saw that coming."

Indeed, it's not hard to imagine that the 2007 opening of the expansive, brightly-lit drug store in the adjacent Anderson Brothers building would impact the bottom line of the smaller, funky Market. At about the same time, developer Hunter Craig ...

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Why'd he lie? Law student's false racial accusation riles

Why did he do it?

That's a question only one person can answer, and that person– Johnathan Perkins– isn't talking. But it hasn't stopped people from wondering what motivated the close-to-graduating UVA third year law student to make up a story about police harassment and racial profiling.

"I was stunned," says M. Rick Turner, president of the local NAACP, "because why would this person put his career on the line?"

The account Perkins penned detailing the alleged event was published along with a sympathetic news story in the the student-run UVA Law Weekly April 22. At Perkins' request, UVA police launched a full-scale investigation, and high-ranking UVA professors decried the alleged incident in which Perkins claimed he'd been harassed by two officers, thrown up against their cruiser, and searched– simply because he was a black man walking home on city streets.

"Whenever I attempted to turn to answer their questions, they forcibly turned me back around to face the car," wrote Perkins of what he called "a real-life anecdote illustrating the myth of equal protection under the law."

It wasn't true, as Perkins eventually admitted on May 5 after the investigation turned up numerous inconsistencie...

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Victims' legacy? UVA overhauls sexual assault policy

Yeardley Love, Liz Seccuro, Annie Hylton, and Kathryn Russell are high-profile names whose cases have given the University of Virginia a reputation for something other than academic excellence: the alleged mishandling of sexual assault and domestic violence cases. On Thursday, May 6, UVA announced it was making some changes, as Vice President and Chief of Student Affairs led a press conference announcing a complete policy overhaul which Lampkin hopes will become a "national model."

"We want people to know we care about this issue," said Lampkin.

In addition to placing more emphasis on assistance to victims, clarifying the definition of "effective consent" and "incapacitation," other proposed changes include:
•the addition of harassment, stalking, relationship violence, cyberstalking, recording or transmitting sexual images, and the knowing transmittal of an STD;
•changing the evidentiary standard from "clear and convincing evidence" (as with crimes) to "a preponderance of the evidence," (the lower threshold used in civil lawsuits);
•the elimination of mediation, in which victims would engage directly with their assailants;
•removal of time and jurisdictional limits, meaning that the university can adjudicate cases that occur off grounds and press cases well beyond the previous one-year limit to any time that the accused student is...

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