Charlottesville Breaking News

Standing by Mann: Small but punchy protest blasts Cuccinelli's 'climategate' inquest

news-globalwarm-protest-mcelveenProtest organizer Ryan McElveen, who enters a master's program at Columbia this fall, meets the press. PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

As global temperatures rise, so does Charlottesville's profile in a worldwide debate. Two events last Friday highlighted the anger and frustration felt on both sides as Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli continues his quest to peek at the early musings of Michael Mann, the former UVA climate professor and creator of the doomsday-invoking "hockey stick graph."

"Ken Cuccinelli wants to take away the most precious things we can leave to the next generation: a healthy environment and a healthy and strong university. Don't let the history books read, 'When climate scientist Michael Mann was ignored, the planet burned up.'"

So said Ryan McElveen. The 2008 UVA graduate had been hopin...

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Tale of Woe: The death of the VQR's Kevin Morrissey

On John Casteen’s last official day in office as the president of the University of Virginia, a tragic story, one fit for the pages of the award-winning literary journal that he nurtured, began to unfold.

That Friday, July 30, the managing editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review, 52-year-old Kevin Morrissey, took his own life. Since then, UVA has shrouded VQR behind a wall of silence, changing the office locks, launching an audit, and even routing all incoming telephone calls to the University's public relations office.

A Hook investigation reveals that behind the staid, Thomas Jefferson-designed exterior of VQR's headquarters swirl allegations of financial recklessness, conflicts of interest, and a bizarre pattern of management-by-email that drove a staffer to quit. Some say there was also a pattern of bullying that may have pushed a fragile man into tragic oblivion.

What’s more, according to a former VQR employee, University officials have known about some of the personnel problems for at least five years.

An ambitious editor

A group called the Workplace Bullying Institute minces no words about the situation, suggesting that Morrissey's boss, VQR editor Theodore H. "Ted" Genoways was a bully and that UVA was "unresponsive." But if Genoways has been cast as the problem, he also appears to be a key source of VQR's success.

Hired in 2003 at...

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Unanimous vote: City Council lowers nighttime noise law to 55dB

news-belrioclosedBel Rio, 8am, August 17: quiet for now. PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

Just five months after lowering the limit from 75 to 65 decibels, City Council voted unanimously Monday to lower the late-night noise level restaurants are allowed to emit to 55 decibels.

The August 16 action brought a wave of applause in the first row of City Council Chambers; and it came despite the recent demise of the Belmont neighborhood restaurant that had been responsible, according to Council's discussion, for 100 percent of the recent sound complaints.

According to a city report, the recent noise complaints were rendered moot–- though certainly not mute–- because the readings measured the offending noise at an average of 58 decibels, which is above the...

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Landmark saved: Bridge owner, Staunton partner on ped bridge fix

onarch-searshillbridge2The bridge has provided free skyline views since 1904. PHOTO BY RACHEL OBENSCHAIN

The Sears Hill bridge will be saved. On Tuesday, July 27, the fate of the historic Staunton footbridge was sealed with the city’s decision to take ownership and restore the 106-year-old structure.

The debate came to a close with owner Richard Macher offering to pay up to $20,000 to temporarily remove the bridge, which currently stands atop the Staunton passenger rail station which he also owns. The City of Staunton agreed to match Macher’s pledge and assume responsibility for the restoration. The city’s $20,000 portion will come from its general fund, which City Manager Steve Owen noted might require a budget amendment.

Although no firm repair cost has been determined, prior estimates suggest the price could climb as high as $250,000, so Owen expressed hope that the community will get involved to close the funding gap.

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Baldi watch: Bel Rio owner's absence prompts media scramble

dish-baldiBel Rio owner Jim Baldi FILE PHOTO BY DAVE MCNAIR

Since the Hook first reported last week on the mysterious disappearance of Bel Rio owner James K. Baldi, local reporters have busily dug up new information that suggests the debonair 47-year-old freelance accountant and restaurateur’s impromptu vacation could become permanent.

It also appears that his 25-year-old traveling companion, Kristian Throckmorton, a former Bel Rio bartender, was indeed the subject of a missing persons report. While Throckmorton’s mother, Wendy Ellis, declined media comment when the story first broke July 20, a story in the Daily Progress reveals that the family filed a missing persons report, an action that appears to have launched a brief police investigation.

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