Charlottesville Breaking News

Burger battle: Flat-out legal warfare... ended

It was flat out.. legal warfare. Venerable burger bar Riverside Lunch was suing its former employee, Ryan Martin, for allegedly ripping off the Riverside concept.

The suit, filed in January 2005, claimed that Riverside's décor– as well as its methods of cooking and serving hamburgers and other fried foods– was unique and that customers might get confused if they stepped into Martin's Grill, which opened nearly a year ago at Forest Lakes.

Riverside claimed it was a victim of such "unfair competition" that it made a federal case out of it. The theory of the case, filed in U.S. District Court, rested on a special concept in intellectual law called "trade dress."

Riverside has long touted its burgers as "flat out" the best in town. But is the "trade dress" of the Riverside– including tiny disposable plates and fries served in a plastic basket– so distinctive that Martin should change the way he does business?

The question never made it to a jury. The two sides worked out a secret settlement, and the case was dismissed by the court September 15. And while both sides may have returned to slinging grease instead of mud, there was a time when acrimony ruled the Charlottesville burger world.

"I think it's frivolous," said Martin of the case in a February interview. "I think it's ridiculous."

A veteran of severa...

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Rapist absent: Unsealed file says cops knew

State police have known for at least three years that a convicted rapist was not at work the day Rebecca Lynn Williams was raped and stabbed to death in her Culpeper apartment, according to an investigative report unsealed by court order Friday, November 12.

In addition, Kenneth Tinsley's DNA was found in seminal fluid on a blanket at the scene of the June 4, 1982, crime. Results of the DNA tests, conducted in 2000, prompted then-Gov. Jim Gilmore to grant a full pardon to Earl Washington Jr., who had been sentenced to death for the Williams slaying. Tinsley has not been charged in Williams' death.

In the documents that U.S. District Judge Norman K. Moon ordered unsealed, Tinsley told police he had no idea how his semen got on the blanket.

"If it's mine, as God's witness, I do not know how it got there," Tinsley was quoted as telling investigators.

Tinsley, 59, speculated that detectives might have planted the evidence, using a semen sample from a previous trial. Tinsley is serving two life terms for a 1984 rape in Albemarle County.

He also said the blanket perhaps was stained in a previous consensual sexual encounter elsewhere.

"He stated that over the years he possibly had sex on a blue blanket in various cities," including New York and Chicago, the investigators wrote.

Another report recounted a conversation with an executive at Tultex Corp. in Martinsville, where Tinsley worked. The executive said records in Tinsley's fil...

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Guilty! Monticello marauders cop a plea

The saga of the Monticello break-in ended on Thursday, May 6, as UVA nursing students Heather Lynn Horn and Connor Hyland Ginley pled guilty to a reduced charge of misdemeanor trespass, avoiding jail time and a felony record for breaking and entering.

On Saturday night, March 20, the two had attended the 100th anniversary dinner of The Raven Society, an elite UVA honor society of which Horn was reportedly a member.

Following the gala, the pair repaired to TJ's mountain, where, according to Albemarle Police Lt. Earl Newton, they were apprehended by Monticello security sometime just after 2am on Sunday, March 21. Newton says a guard "noticed the top portion of a downstairs window open, and heard a woman's voice."

The two were caught as they were walking away from the house, and county police were summoned for the arrest. Newton says he's unaware of any reports regarding alcohol use before or during the incident.

Though Horn and Ginley did not return the Hook's calls, they have each stated publicly that they meant no harm by their late-night expedition.

"We just drove up to the exterior of the gate," The Daily Progress quoted Horn on Monday, March 22.

Ginley said in The Washington Post two days later, "We were just appreciating Monticello... We were just walking around enjoying ourselves. We didn't damage anything."

Damage or not, Monticello brass wasn't amused.

"The charge of breaking and ent...

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W&L tops UVA: But Wahoo leaders don't mind

The University of Virginia just tied for number one public university in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings. However, in the recent Princeton Review's Best 351 Colleges, UVA didn't make the cut in one key category where tiny Washington and Lee came in at number five.

The listing? Top party schools.

"I think it's appropriate we didn't make the list," says Susan Bruce, director of UVA's Center for Alcohol and Substance Education. "Our annual reports shows our numbers on use of alcohol are starting to go down."

That hasn't always been the case. The infamous annual debauchery that was Easters assured the university a high ranking among the national pantheon of party schools. That is, until revelry in Madison Bowl, aka "Mud Bowl," got out of hand in 1976 and was quashed in 1983.

In 1987, when Playboy published its list of top party schools, UVA came in at number 10. By the time Hefner's mag did a second list in 2002, the university was nowhere to be found– the only Virginia school mentioned was JMU, coming in at number 25....

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Mountain love: Waltons fans converge on Doubletree


The Waltons were a cultural phenomenon. Norman Rockwell did a cover for the Saturday Evening Post in 1973, seating the show's characters at the Thanksgiving Dinner table made famous by his WWII illustration, "Freedom from Want." Being tied to an American icon by an iconographic illustrator is heady stuff.

TV is larger than reality. A Google search on the Waltons returns 16,900 results, while a Google Search on Schuyler, Virginia, returns 551 results.

I didn't own a TV from 1972 to 1980. I'd heard of The Waltons the same way today I've heard of Britney Spears. But I was then, and I remained until the end of last week when they all came back for a reunion, blissfully ignorant about the series created by Schuyler native Earl Hamner (who also piloted Falcon Crest, starring Ronald Reagan's first wife).

My expectations for the shindig were low-key. I hoped to meet Earl, ask if he had feelings of kinship with Thomas Wolfe. Substitute Schuyler for Asheville, substitute Hamner for Wolfe. But the author, while participating in the events of the weekend, did not attend the function at the DoubleTree Hotel in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon.

So, for you Waltons cognoscenti, Elizabeth, Jason, Toni, and Erin were on hand. My efforts to photograph the correct people as they arrived were gracefully, willingly, directed by the various Waltons fans in attendance.

What is left 20+ years after...

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Editor's Note
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