Charlottesville Breaking News

'Family man': Relatives fear for missing Fluvanna citizen

"I love you, baby. Have a great day." Those were the last words Tara Hourihan heard from her husband of 14 years, Robert Lee Hourihan, as he prepared to leave for work on Friday, April 8. The 33-year-old Fluvanna County husband and father hasn't been seen or heard from since.

"To know my husband, in my eyes, was to love him," says Tara. "He'd give you the shirt off his back."

The two met at church in Fluvanna when both were 15, and his wife describes an instant attraction. "It was love at first sight," says Tara, choking up.

She says that Hourihan left their house on Shannon Hill Road at around 6:30am the morning of the 8th to commute to his job as an electrician working for the state in Richmond.

His wife says his usual route would have been to follow Shannon Hill Road east directly to I-64. But according to his father, Ricky Hourihan, a witness spotted his car– a 1994 Chevrolet Cavalier with the license plate TARAMAE and a Winnie the Pooh sticker in the left rear window– heading toward Charlottesville on Route 53 around 7:40am. The last call made from Hourihan's phone, his father says, was at 7:41am.

Ricky Hourihan says another witness reports seeing the same car getting off I-64 onto Fifth Street around 5:30pm that evening, but notes, "We don't know if he was driving."

Lt. David Wells of the Fluvanna Sheriff's department confirms those witness accounts, and says a third witness came forward with another car sighting...

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Variety hour: Manorlady keeps debut all in the family

Manorlady Family Band is just that– a veritable family affair– with the main components consisting of husband and wife Melissa and Aaron Bailey on vocals and guitar and Melissa's younger brother, Donald, on keys. (The family vibe continues backstage with Aaron's brother producing and Melissa and Donald's sister doing the publicity photography.)

The nostalgic charm of the music and a never-say-die attitude gives the three-piece ensemble an initial appeal; but the true pull of this burgeoning Charlottesville act is the enthusiastic, if not youthful, desire for experimentation and adaptation of diverse musical interests into one lush, cohesive sound.

On their first EP, Home Away, released in 2010– they electrified classics by Radiohead, Tears For Fears, and Portishead. This time, they've meshed a collective interest in ska, punk, classical, and electronic experimentation for their debut album, Home.

With lyrics influenced by the mundane aspects of everyday life– including schedules, reality tv, and dogs– and traditional melodies morphed by technology into a raw, funky, shoegaze electronica, Manorlady has brought Charlottesville a fresh perspective on reinterpreting sound.

"It's like a Pollack painting," says Aaron, "we mixed up all the colors and threw it on a canvas, and this is what we got.

Manorlady releases its debut alb...

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Murder for hire? Albemarle woman charged in foiled plot

A 62-year-old Albemarle woman has been arrested and jailed on charges of attempted murder for hire and attempted arson. Police say they were dispatched to the 2800 block of McCauley Court on April 16 by the intended victim and informed of the alleged plot, which was divulged by acquaintances of the victim before it could reach fruition.

Police arrested Linda Faye McDaniel of the 800 block of Mallside Forest on two warrants and took her to the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail.

Police Sergeant Darrell Byers says McDaniel appeared in court on the morning of Monday, April 18 where bail was set at $10,000. Whether McDaniel has obtained bond to get her from jail he could not say. He says that authorities don't plan to release the name of the intended victim.

This appears to be the first major murder-for-hire plot in this area since the Patrick Shemorry case resulted in a guilty plea in 2009.

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Huguely indicted: Murder trial set for February

As expected, the charges against George W. Huguely IV, the scion of a prominent Washington-area family accused of murdering his on-again/off-again girlfriend, have now been certified by a Charlottesville grand jury.

Bearing the signature of a citizen named Virginia Ritchie, the indictments were handed down on Monday, April 18 and released by the City of Charlottesville that afternoon. The grand jury, meeting just one week day after the case's long-delayed preliminary hearing, accuses the 23-year-old Huguely of first degree murder, robbery, burglarly, and larceny– six felonies in all.

Huguely stands accused of breaking into the 14th Street home of Yeardley Reynolds Love, a UVA women's lacrosse player and fellow fourth-year student, in order to kill her. Her unresponsive body was found by her apartment-mate on the morning of May 3.

Huguely's lawyer has termed the incident a tragic accident.

Unless Huguely and the Commonwealth agree to a plea, the eyes of the nation will descend on Charlottesville for a high-profile, two-week trial set for February 6, 2012.

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Global exposure: 'Fourth Grade' film racks up honors

It may not yet have achieved world peace, but a locally-made film has gotten a world stage. John Hunter, the star of World Peace & Other Fourth Grade Achievements as well as the creator of the game that inspired the film, joined such luminaries as Bill Gates, retired Army General Stanley McChrystal, and film critic Roger Ebert as featured presenters at the exclusive TED Conference last month in Long Beach, California.

"He got a standing ovation," says the filmmaker, Chris Farina.

Talking to audiences who'd ponied up no less than $3,500 per seat, Hunter's appearance may have helped the picture rack up new achievements since the film first screened in Charlottesville in February 2010.

"It's beyond our wildest dreams where this film is going," says Farina. "Five years ago, we were scrambling to come up with money to shoot at our local school. Now we're getting calls from Korea."

Indeed, the film has aired on South Korean televisions stations as well as on Al Hurra, a mideast competitor to Al Jazeera. Farina says he's currently negotiating a deal with an American broadcaster, which he hopes will help pay off debt he's still carrying from the film's estimated $120,000 budget.

The connec...

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