Charlottesville Breaking News

Equinoxer to activist: The making of a soldier in the war against the war on drugs

"Just say no." –First Lady Nancy Reagan

Jamie Graham did not say no. He said yes. In fact, he said yes many times. Yes to that bottle of champagne his friends were passing around in high school at a New Year's Eve party, yes to the guy who said "chug it." He said yes to trying marijuana on that very same night, though it never actually got him high the first few times. And, in the summer before college, Graham said yes to LSD. He'd been reading all about Ken Kesey and the Day-Glo acid trippers of the 1960s, and he'd gotten curious.

The only problem was, this Eagle Scout, debate team captain, and high school track star with a 4.5 GPA didn't know anyone who did acid. So he bounced the idea off of some of the students he tutored after school. Some of them had long hair, smoked, and looked like they knew how to get a hold of the stuff. Most of them laughed at their clean-cut 18-year-old math tutor when he asked about getting acid. But one did not. And within a few weeks, Graham had the first of what would be many experiences with LSD.

He said yes to the University of Virginia when he was offered an academic scholarship. And he said yes to Tau Kappa Epsilon when they asked him to pledge. He said yes to parties and long hair, yes to Grateful Dead concerts and Gulf War protests, and yes to the new world of freedom that is college life. And of course he said yes to his studies, maintaining a...

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Wet zero: Worrell's wastewater gadget cleans up in SF

Once again, Worrell Water Technologies, the company founded by ex-Daily Progress owner Tom Worrell to develop earth-inspired wastewater re-use technologies, has sold one of its state-of-the-art Living Machine systems to a major buyer. This time, it's the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission, which wants to display the system in its new 13-story headquarters. 

Back in December, the U.S. government purchased a Worrell system for a new border control facility in Otay Mesa, California; and another Living Machine is operating in the 10-story headquarters of the Port of Portland, the entity that runs Portland International Airport, where water from sinks, showers, and toilets is reused for use in toilets (and where about only 20 percent of the water typically used in a conventional office building is consumed).

“The new San Fransisco office building shows how we can begin to transition to decentralizing energy and water systems, even in a dense urban area,” says Will Kirksey, senior vice president at Worrell Water Technologies, in a release that notes that the company now has more than a dozen major systems in operation around the world.

But there are none in Al...

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Absolute Kluge: Eyes on Trump as winery hits auction block

When the winery founded by Patricia Kluge was on the block in December, no one came close to the bank's $19-million minimum. But at the upcoming April 7 absolute auction, someone will go home with a winery– or part of one.

An absolute auction means the highest bidder gets the property, with no minimum, and the owner can't bid on it, explains Bill Shmidheiser, attorney for Farm Credit, which is trying to recoup its $35-million loan to Kluge.

"It assures buyers the property will be sold at the highest price," he says. "The public knows the owners are not testing the waters."

The 901-acre Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyards has been divvied up into six tracts.

"As a whole, it's a big bite," explains Shmidheiser.

But at least one high-profile potential buyer– The Donald– may think splitting the property is a mistake.

"We might be interested in buying the whole thing," says Jason Greenblatt, general counsel for Donald Trump's empire. "I think they're destroying it by splitting it. And I think they're harming the Virginia wine industry by doing so."

Trump emerged as a player in the liquidation of Kluge's ass...

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'Tragic accident:' UVA student dies in fall from roof

Thomas W. Gilliam IV's last day alive had been "magnificent," says his grandfather. The 19-year-old UVA student went to church with his grandparents and his father, who was in town for dental work from Ireland, where the family lived. They went out to lunch and then he worked on his resume with his dad. They went to a performance of Celtic Woman at John Paul Jones Arena Sunday night, March 27, and dropped Tom off at his dorm at 10pm.

"He said he had to finish a paper," says Tom Gilliam Jr., the young man's grandfather.

Two hours later, he was dead, the victim of what authorities believe was an accidental fall from the roof of the Physics Building.

"He slipped and fell," says his grandfather.

An emergency call came in at 11:15pm, Gilliam was taken from the McCormick Road building at 11:38pm, and he arrived at the UVA Medical Center at 11:43pm, where he died.

"At this time, we do not believe that either foul play or alcohol were involved," says UVA spokesperson Carol Wood in a release. "Nor do we believe that this was a suicide. Investigators believe it was a tragic accident." An autopsy is being performed.

UVA police are investigating the incident, and issued a statement Monday night that the east door of the Physics Building was compromised, and that Gilliam entered through that door and opened the main door to let in other students.

"Unfortunately, with the snow and rain on Saturday and Sunday, the roof of the Physics Build...

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Man allegedly shoots woman in neck

As snow was falling over the county early Sunday morning, gunfire rang out just off of Hydraulic Road, and a woman became the year's first victim of a shooting in Albemarle. Charged in the incident is John Wesley Morris, a 53-year-old Charlottesville resident, who reportedly fled the scene and was captured in his vehicle in the Free Union/Earlysville area less than two hours later.

The victim, an unnamed woman, received a gunshot wound to her neck, but her injuries were described by an Albemarle County Police Department release as "non life-threatening." The release indicates that the March 27 incident occurred around 1:40am in the 1800 block of Inglewood Drive with the arrest around 3:05am on Buck Mountain Ford Road.

Published reports suggest that Morris is no stranger to violence. In 1985 he was convicted of the double homicide of Ricky Clements and Monte Wanless at the Pantops-area Hardee's restaurant. He was sentenced to 46 years, and according to the Department of Corrections, released in January 2008.

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