Lisa Provence



When J.R. Harris discovered a hidden camera in his office, initially it didn’t occur to him that the city had put it there. Photo: 
Martyn Kyle

Fire department firing: Spycam used to justify termination

Longtime Charlottesville Fire Department mechanic J.R. Harris was well known to be a teetotaler, and even his bosses said they didn’t think the alleged bottle of booze one of them found in his desk was his. Nonetheless, when Harris got an October 7, 2014, termination letter, one of the reasons cited for his dismissal was […]

Seven Oaks sans oaks has   a new owner. File photo

Seven Oaks sells—finally

After nearly seven years on the market, Seven Oaks, the Greenwood estate owned by Dave Matthews Band manager, MusicToday founder and real estate tycoon Coran Capshaw sold October 31 for $5.5 million. The 100-acre historic estate was listed for $12.5 million when it went on the market in 2008. The new owner is an entity […]

Photo: Amanda Maglione

The ruins of Afton Mountain: Eyesores along a scenic byway

Thousands of visitors come to Virginia every year to tour the Blue Ridge Parkway and Skyline Drive. As they soak in the natural beauty where the two meet off Interstate 64 at Rockfish Gap, with views stretching out across the Shenandoah Valley, they soak in something else less appealing, although breathtaking in its own way: […]

The 2015 legislative session draws to a close. File photo.

Richmond rundown Legislators find common ground as session winds down

The 2015 General Assembly session is in its final sprint, with talk of both houses agreeing to a budget and voting on it one day before the session ends February 27—a nearly unprecedented rapprochement. Contributing to the speedy resolution was taking Medicaid expansion off the table, despite Governor Terry McAuliffe setting that as a priority […]

Virginia's House districts. Image via Virginia Division of Legislative Services

Redistricting reform bills die in House subcommittee

A handful of bills to reform gerrymandering died February 12 in a seven-person House of Delegates subcommittee by voice vote. Delegate Steve Landes (R-25th) was one of those voting to kill the bills. “Our districts are not gerrymandered,” he said. “They’re approved by the Department of Justice.” The state constitution makes legislators responsible for drawing […]

The view from Devils Knob at Wintergreen. File photo

Midwestern investment firm buys Wintergreen

A Missouri real estate investment trust, EPR Properties, has picked up Wintergreen Resort for an undisclosed price, it announced last week. Coal and resort baron Jim Justice, who bought Wintergreen for $16.5 million in June 2012, poured millions into infrastructure before putting the Nelson ski resort on the market a year ago. “Wintergreen is an […]

Albemarle County Sheriff Chip Harding. Photo: Sarah Jane Winter

Watered-down DNA bills pass in VA House and Senate

Accused Hannah Graham-murderer Jesse Matthew, who was convicted of trespassing in 2010, inspired three bills in the General Assembly to add misdemeanors to the crimes for which DNA samples are collected. However, the versions that passed would not have prevented Matthew from crossing paths with Graham last September. Had Matthew been buccal swabbed for DNA […]

The U.S. Attorney's Office offers no predictions on whether charges will be filed. Staff photo

Dark cloud: No charges filed in Psychic Catherine raid

Last summer a phalanx of cop cars lined up at Psychic Readings by Catherine on U.S. 29 and closed one lane of traffic. The Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement led the June 14 search warrant execution, removed four cars, and left a lot of locals wondering what was up. No charges have […]

David Toscano stands with Eugene and Lorraine Williams after the Charlottesville couple was honored by the House of Delegates for their leadership during the desegregation of city schools.
Contributed photo

Richmond roundup: Civil rights legends honored in Richmond

When the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education in 1954, Charlottesville residents Eugene and Lorraine Williams could not have imagined the General Assembly that supported segregation would one day give them a standing ovation. Yet that’s what happened February 6, when the highly partisan House of Delegates rose in unison to applaud […]

Justin Anderson defends in the Louisville game before the pinkie fracture. Photo Dillon Harding/Virginia Media Relations.

Wrapped around Justin Anderson’s finger?

Star guard Justin Anderson’s fractured finger did not stop Virginia from topping ninth-ranked Louisville 52-47 February 7, nor did it prevent Virginia from being ranked No. 2 in the country again this week. But what does it mean for the Cavaliers for the rest of the regular season, with Anderson out of commission for the […]

Albemarle prosecutor Denise Lunsford announces Jesse Matthew was indicted February 2 on first-degree murder, abduction and reckless driving charges in the Hannah Graham case. Staff photo

Jesse Matthew indicted on murder charge in Hannah Graham case

Jesse Matthew, the man charged in the abduction last fall of UVA student Hannah Graham, has been indicted for Graham’s murder, Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Denise Lunsford announced at a press conference February 10. Matthew was indicted February 2 on first-degree murder, abduction and reckless driving charges in connection with Graham’s death, Lunsford said. He has […]

Angela Lynn. Contributed photo

Landes challenger Angela Lynn announces run

White Hall resident Angela Lynn knows she’s got an uphill battle challenging Republican Delegate Steve Landes for the 25th District seat, which he’s held since 1996. Most of the district is in more conservative Augusta and Rockingham counties, with a chunk of western Albemarle thrown in. It was the gerrymandering of the district that played […]

Harper Lee told Charles Shields when he requested an interview for his biography of her, "Not just no, but hell no." Photo: Michael Bailey

Anticipation: Local author predicted another Harper Lee book

Charlottesville writer Charles Shields was not surprised to learn that more than 50 years after the publication of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, To Kill a Mockingbird, a second novel has been discovered and will be published this summer. “I knew of its existence,” said Shields, who wrote Mockingbird, an unauthorized biography of Lee, in 2006. […]

The 250 Bypass-Meadow Creek Parkway interchange will provide access to the rest of the long-planned Parkway, and it will also be the nexus of several alternative transportation routes connecting Downtown to other Charlottesville destinations. Image courtesy of City of Charlottesville.

Meadow Creek Parkway, Bypass interchange to open Thursday

The last part of the Meadow Creek Parkway, a controversial road that’s been on the books for decades, will open to traffic on February 5. The interchange at the U.S. 250 bypass will connect with McIntire Road Extended, Charlottesville’s portion of the parkway, which was completed in August 2013. That section goes up to Melbourne […]

The controversial ABC store on West Main Street will remain in its current location. Photo: Michael Johnson

ABC renews lease on West Main store

The liquor store on West Main that sparked petitions both for and against its moving, as well as discussions on race and gentrification in the midtown corridor, will stay in its current location for another five years. ABC Chair Jeff Painter said in a January 28 statement that he signed the lease renewal at 502 […]

Moonlighting founder Jeff Tennery wants to help people make money through freelancing—and build a billion-dollar company. Photo Martyn  Kyle

Hire or be hired: Moonlighting app taps ‘sharing economy’

First there was Airbnb, which helped people rent out their abodes for extra cash. Then Uber made it possible to earn money using your car. Those businesses are examples of what’s known as a “sharing economy,” and the latest entrant is the Charlottesville-based Moonlighting mobile phone app, which helps people hire or be hired and […]

Former registrar Sheri Iachetta was asked to resign two days after the November election. Staff photo

Iachetta pleads guilty to four misdemeanors in city cell phone scandal

In a plea agreement in Charlottesville General District Court January 28, former city registrar Sheri Iachetta pleaded guilty to four misdemeanor counts of intentionally removing city property, as did co-defendant Stephanie Commander. Both women originally were charged with multiple felony embezzlement counts for approving or using cell phones paid for by taxpayers. Iachetta was charged with six […]

Downtown businesses are angry after Second Street SW was suddenly closed to allow for renovations at the old Regal movie theater. Staff photo

Second Street closure irks restaurant owners

About 20 years ago, the plan to open Second Street and have traffic cross the Downtown Mall brought dire predictions the pedestrian mall would be ruined. Two weeks ago, the street closed with virtually no notice, and restaurant owners are making dire predictions that they’ll be ruined. Martin Horn Construction got a permit to close […]

Claire Ogilvie, who attacked Nancy Tramontin her basement, will spend four years in prison. Mugshot: Charlottesville Police Department

Ogilvie pleads guilty, sentenced to 4 years

The woman who entered the residence of Delegate David Toscano and attacked his wife nearly a year ago entered a plea agreement January 23 in Charlottesville Circuit Court and was sentenced to 50 years in prison, with all but four years suspended. Ogilvie, 36, a Yale grad and former patent attorney, stood before Judge John Cullen […]

Damien Shifflett's family suffered another loss in a December house fire. Photo courtesy family

Hit-and-run victim ID’d as Stanardsville father of four

A family member has said that the man killed early January 20 in a hit and run on U.S. 29 in Ruckersville is Damien Shifflett, 30, a father of four. State police spokeswoman Corinne Geller has since confirmed the ID, and said that Shifflett was from Stanardsville. Barely a month earlier, his family suffered another tragedy. According to […]

Charlottesville police will soon be wearing body cameras. This one is by Taser. Photo courtesy Taser.

Of cops and cameras: Body cams imminent for Charlottesville police

Even before a police officer’s fatal encounter with an unarmed teen in Ferguson last summer, the Charlottesville Police Department had already budgeted for body-worn cameras for its officers, a move that has gained widespread support—except, perhaps, from the officers themselves. City Police Chief Tim Longo got $450,000 in the fiscal year 2014 budget for the […]

Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding (right) believes Jesse Matthew (center) would have been apprehended before allegdly abducting Hannah Graham if DNA was collected for misdemeanor offenses. Delegate David Toscano, left, is one of the state legislators sponsoring a bill that would require DNA collection for certain misdemeanor offenses. Photo credits: David Toscano file photo/Jesse Matthew courtesy FBI/Chip Harding by Sarah Jane Winter

99 problems that could lead to DNA collection

Extending DNA collection to include convictions of misdemeanors seems to enjoy bipartisan support, but two local delegates are carrying separate bills with different visions of how to expand the DNA databank. House Minority Leader David Toscano (D-57th) was the first to answer Albemarle Sheriff Chip Harding’s call for misdemeanor DNA collection after the abduction of […]

Firefighters respond to reports of smoke on the seventh floor of the Wells Fargo building downtown. Photo: Sam Caravana

‘Smells and bells’ empty Wells Fargo building

The Wells Fargo building on the Downtown Mall was evacuated around lunch time Monday because of smoke on the seventh floor. A locked-up motor in a mechanical room on that floor caused the alarm, according to Charlottesville Fire Department Battalion Chief W. A. Hogsten. Even though the ladder truck was extended to the top floor, […]