Charlottesville Breaking News

Justine's vigil brings comfort, questions

On Saturday, November 3, dozens of people flocked to Taylor Park on Main Street in downtown Orange for a vigil to remember Justine Swartz Abshire, a 27-year-old kindergarten teacher and animal lover killed November 3, 2006, in an apparent hit and run on Taylorsville Road near Barboursville.

While the vigil was intended to remember and celebrate Justine's life, her family also wanted to remind those in attendance that the crime remains unsolved. Along with friends, reporters– including a New York-based television crew from ABC's 20/20 and Primetime shows– mingled and interviewed attendees, some of whom had traveled from as far away as California and Oregon to attend.

Most of the vigil-goers were local, however, including one whose presence might have come as a surprise to some: Justine's widower, Eric Abshire.

Last May, at the same they boosted a reward for information leading to an arrest in the case from $10,000 to $50,000, the Swartzes took the unusual step of suggesting Abshire had been less than forthcoming with both them and with police. They cited alleged inconsistencies in his stor...

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Beauty queens for Sacagawea

Miss Representation and Miss Informed promenade the Downtown Mall seeking 500 signatures for a petition to correct the portrayal of Lewis and Clark guide Sacagawea in the statue at Ridge and West Main. "We object to the sexist and inaccurate representation," says Miss Informed (Kelly Silliman). "She'd never cower." Miss Representation (Jen Hoyt-Tidwell) has spoken before City Council, and the pair want due respect for and a proper accounting of the woman who, despite toting a newborn baby, assisted the L&C expedition to the Pacific.

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Mr. Monticello, Dan Jordan, to exit

Perhaps no man since a certain "Sage" has one man been more closely associated with Monticello than longtime head Dan Jordan, but Jordan plans to say farewell next year. He has set November 1, 2008, as his departure date to give the Thomas Jefferson Foundation's board of trustees plenty of time to seat a successor. Already renowned as a scholar before his 1985 appointment, Jordan proved himself a master power-broker as well. He built support for the concept of viewshed protection, garnered several million in federal funds for a new park and popular trail, and, in a $15 million stroke in early 2004, acquired Montalto, the only turf overlooking what Jefferson called his "Little Mountain." Jordan, 69, has also marked his tenure with sweeping changes including embracing and emphasizing the contributions of slaves and by acknowledging the 1998 revelation that one of them, Sally Hemings, probably bore several children b...

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Historic growth: BOS approves Biscuit Run

At 1 o'clock this morning, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors approved developer Hunter Craig's Biscuit Run development, the largest development in County history, which will include a minimum of 3,100 new houses on the 828-acre property along Route 20 South, plus a 400-acre County park, reports Charlottesville Tomorrow.

While many at the public hearing– which did not begin until 11 last night– called for a more extensive environmental impact study before the development was approved, and others expressed concern about increased traffic on Route 20, the BOS voted unanimously to allow rezoning of the property, a decision that was surely helped along by Craig's whopping $41.15 million proffers offer.

According to supervisor David Slutzky, Biscuit Run may be the lesser of two evils. A proponent of shutting down growth in the rural areas of the County, Slutzky sees the development as a way to steer the thousands of people moving here into designated growth areas. He also points out that Craig could have b...

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City arrests leashless dog owners

Attention dog owners: if you're one of those people who've been flouting the city's leash law along the Greenbelt in Riverside Park, you might want to consider that your canine's free-roamin' ways could cost you some freedom. Or at least some money. This past weekend, the city kicked off a new wave of leash law enforcement, as a community patrol officer issued five citations for leash law violations– a class four misdemeanor punishable by a fine up to $250. In late December 2001, the city enacted a leash law in all parks, designating certain spaces and times when dogs can be off leash. While Riverside's rules allow dogs to run free on on the "short loop" (starting and ending at the park parking lot) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, many dog owners are letting their dogs exceed these bounds. "We're going to enforce it," says Charlottesville Police Sergeant L.A. Durrette, "and city and county residents need to understand that the city does have a leash law." Durrette says the decision to ramp up enforcement in all city parks was a result of community complaints,

and at least two...

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