Charlottesville Breaking News

Unlettered capitalism: Circuit City has yanked its signs

Eager shoppers swarmed the store in the final days. FILE PHOTO BY HAWES SPENCER

The Circuit City location in the Albemarle Square shopping center has closed, and, according to a witness, the giant letters were removed by crane-carried workers on Tuesday, December 30.

Part of a company-wide shedding of stores announced November 3, the closing of the Charlottesville store and 154 others didn't stop the electronics retailer from declaring bankruptcy a week later. Its stock was trading at 13 cents a share at post time.

Back in the late 1980s, when the Richmond-based company embarked on a national expansion, its branding strategy included making the store entrance look like a giant red electrical plug. However, by the ti...

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Madoff arrest: Finally makes Dowdell's ponzi 'small potatoes'

this is a jailhouse photo of formerly high-living financier Terry DowdellThe once dapperly pin-striped Dowdell now wears a striped suit of a different sort. FILE PHOTO BY ALBEMARLE-CHARLOTTESVILLE REGIONAL JAIL

Five years ago, when pleading for lenient sentencing, the lawyer for convicted Charlottesville-based ponzi schemer Terry Dowdell downplayed Dowdell's tens of millions in thefts as "small potatoes." Now, the arrest of New York financier Bernie Madoff appears to have finally taken a step toward moving that spud-based contention toward reality.

Back when Dowdell was forced to give up his million-dollar residence in the tony Ivy-area Rosemont subdivision, his ponzi was considered one of the largest in history. But what Madoff is ...

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Story archive - Hook water supply articles

The dream of providing a 50-year water supply has been controversial, as Hook water articles demonstrate. This page also includes links to official and other documents linked by these stories.


This page also includes links to official and other documents linked by these stories.

• February 28, 2008 - COVER- Reservoir dogged: A $142 million boondoggle?
2005 report - Gannett Fleming: Ragged Mountain Reservoir Expansion [PDF]
2008 maps - Hook: the urban water system and reservoir proximity to airport [html]

• March 6, 2008 - NEWS- Higher and higher: Frederick claimed dredge cost $225 million 2005 minutes - RWSA - regulator meeting between local officials and regulators [PDF]

• March 13, 2008 - ...

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Vinegar Hill back from the dead!

Adam Greenbaum reopened the 1930s-era Visulite Theater in Staunton in 2006. Now, he's saving Vinegar Hill. FILE PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO

Put away your tissues, dry your eyes, and change out of that somber funeral wear. Less than 24 hours after news of its demise, the word on Charlottesville's only independently owned movie theater: It's Aliiiiive!

"We're taking over Vinegar Hill," exclaims Adam Greenbaum, owner of Staunton's own Visulite Cinemas, the art house that opened in 2006. Greenbaum says Vinegar Hill will indeed close down after Sunday–- but only for two weeks.

"We're going to get in there, do some technical upgrades primarily, and reopen on November 14 with Rachel Getting Married," Greenbaum explains. "Charlottesville is...

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Painful puzzle: Abshire talks about the fatal night


It was first considered a tragic but straight-forward incident of hit and run on a winding, moonlit country road in Barboursville. But the 2006 death of Justine Swartz Abshire, a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher, continues to vex investigators, as a series of discrepancies surround the late woman's husband, who insists on his innocence.


Last month, the tragedy found a national audience when ABC Primetime Crime, capping a year-long investigation by the network, aired an hour-long episode on Justine's death that revealed some startling new clues. But despite the new information– including phone records and a battery of injuries inconsistent with the original story– questions remain: How did Justine spend her final hours? Why did it take her husband as long as 18 minutes to call 911 after he discovered his wife's body? And how did Justine really die?

The biggest question of all, however, is one that has been whispered throughout the community for nearly two years: Did Eric Abshire murder his wife? Or is he– as he claims– a grieving widower scapegoated by devastated parents and a frustrated police force with no other suspects?

Last week, for the first time, Abshire agreed to sit down with the Hook for...

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