Charlottesville Breaking News

Dogg/Williams: Two stars in one night thrill downtown

It may have seemed like just a typical spring night in Charlottesville, but Monday, April 25 held the distinction of showcasing the talents of two nationally renowned– yet somehow different– musical performers: Snoop Dog and Lucinda Williams. Although Williams appeared at the Paramount, it turns out that each came to town via Starr Hill Presents, the music promotion firm run by Dave Matthews Band manager Coran Capshaw. Tom Daly caught the action with his camera.

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Git 'er blocked: City picks fencing, not fixing, Belmont Bridge

Fire engines, school buses, and even 18-wheel trucks routinely rumble over the east side of the Belmont Bridge. But not pedestrians.

Since November, east side walkers have been temporarily banned, forced by a chain-link fence to traverse four- to five-lane Avon Street if they wish to cross the bridge, the main southern gateway to downtown. And with an April 4 vote, a City Council majority has decided to spend nearly $15,000 building a permanent barrier to block pedestrians. A Hook investigation, however, finds that Council wasn't given information that might have altered the discussion.

Several times, beginning last fall, City planning director Jim Tolbert has appeared before the City Council to say that fixing the closed sidewalk would cost over $300,000. But what about fixing what's already there?

Bob Fenwick, a professional contractor and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers veteran who's making a second run for a seat on Council, contends that patching the sidewalk makes far better sense.

"We don't have money to throw around," says Fenwick. "If that bridge is strong enough for the vibration and load of heavy trucks, then it should be strong enough for a person. Or several people."

A reporter found that City officials have abandoned the idea of patching. Neither of the two proposals the City recently obtained shows any sign of considering repair, only replacement.

For instance, an...

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Sudden death: Beer boss loved football, fishing, philanthropy

According to the Albemarle County Police, at approximately 9:30 on Monday morning, April 18, emergency personnel responded to a report of a shooting on the 1200 block of Hammocks Gap Road. While police decline to name the victim, multiple sources confirm it was Terence Y. "Terry" Sieg, the 69-year-old businessman, philanthropist, and former UVA football star.

While the family is remaining tight-lipped about a cause of death, which they say occurred a day before the discovery, and an autopsy report is pending, Police spokesperson Darrell Byers says foul play is not suspected, lending weight to the idea that Sieg's death was self-inflicted. The silver-haired Sieg was buried on the afternoon of Friday, April 22 at Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Greenwood.

Born in California and raised mostly in San Diego, Sieg went on to become an all-state football star in New Jersey before accepting a scholarship to play at UVA in 1960.

"I was awestruck," recalls Sieg's first-year roommate, Joe Brown. "Here I get paired with this handsome, urbane, athletic guy who spoke Spanish and had the surfer lingo down from living in California."

Upon graduation in 1964 with a degree in English literature, Sieg was drafted by the Cleveland Browns, but a knee injury reportedly ended his professional football career before he could play a  game. That didn't curtail his passion for sports, says his son, Los Angeles-based filmmaker Derek Sieg, who says his father becam...

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Sober blow? Controversy erupts after student gets breathalyzed

An allegation of drinking some spiked lemonade at Western Albemarle High School led to a 10th grade girl getting pulled out of class and forced to take an on-campus, police-administered breathalyzer test. With the test allegedly finding no trace of alcohol, a Charlottesville-based civil rights organization contends that the school trampled the student's Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches.

"That's not a good idea if you want to protect freedom," says John Whitehead, president of the Rutherford Institute. "It's a good idea if you want a police state."

According to the Institute, the controversy began on March 10 when two unidentified students told a teacher that the sophomore was drinking alcohol. The teacher allegedly informed Associate Principal Greg Domecq, who observed the girl during lunch but allegedly told her father that she "seemed fine" with no indications of impairment.

What's not in dispute is that Domecq had the teen removed from class and taken to a room where an Albemarle police officer was waiting to administer the breathalyzer.

The Fourth Amendment requires a reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. For underage drinking at school, that might include stumbling or slurred words, Whitehead suggests. Without probable cause, all students become suspects, says Whitehead whose organization has recently uncovered a spate of what it sees as zero-tolerance abuses, including...

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Submission guidelines: Will the fallen VQR rise again?

For 86 years the Virginia Quarterly Review, UVA's award-winning literary journal, had appeared on bookstore shelves and in mailboxes each season. But that publishing streak was threatened last summer when the magazine's managing editor, 52-year-old Kevin Morrissey, took his own life. In a burst of violence and grief, the reputation of one of the nation's oldest and most distinguished literary journals, along with that of the youthful editor who had lifted the magazine to new heights, appeared in tatters.

Eight months later, however, the magazine has managed to preserve its publishing streak, gotten nominated again for several National Magazine Awards, and has already won in the digital category for an interactive website about the war in Afghanistan.

Despite the cloud that had been hanging over VQR, the good news suggests things are back to normal.

Or are they?

While the magazine could yet haul in more national awards, subscription rates and circulation numbers have plummeted. What's more, VQR has been stripped of its long-time bonds with the UVA President's Office and English Department, lost its staff and its coveted Lawn-area office, and has been officially placed under a professor of Biomedical Engineering known most recently for studying the use magnets in physical therapy.


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Editor's Note
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