Lisa Provence



Master Charles Cannon, leader of Synchronicity Foundation in Nelson County, says his followers’ devotion to meditation equipped them to handle the deaths of two of its members in the 2008 Mumbai terrorist attacks. Photo courtesy of Synchronicity Foundation

Synchronicity Foundation recalls compassionate response to terrorism

A journey to India for meditation and enlightenment in late November 2008 turned into a terrorist bloodbath that left 164 people dead throughout multiple locations in Mumbai. Among them were a father and daughter from Synchronicity Foundation in Nelson County. Days later, the modern spirituality community made international news again when the mother’s response was […]

Attorney Bill Dinkin says his client, Sandra Marks, is "extemely remorseful" for bilking vulnerable victims of millions.
Staff photo

Psychic sentenced to 30 months, blames Synchronicity

Sandra Marks, aka Psychic Catherine, was sentenced to 30 months in jail November 18 in federal court for bilking victims in search of spiritual solace, and she was ordered to pay more than $5.4 million in restitution. In court and in a sentencing memo, Marks’ attorney, Bill Dinkin, said that she didn’t start bilking clients big time […]

Zenith Quest has reduced the wattage at its ammunition warehouse after residents complained it was too bright a spot in the Rockfish Valley at night. Photo by Anna Kariel/SkycladAP

Lights dimmed at Rockfish Valley ammo warehouse

When the nearly complete Zenith Quest plant in Nelson County turned on the lights in September, Afton resident Dave Connolly said it looked like a “landing strip” from his home 800′ above. He attended a Nelson supervisors meeting October 11 and says within 24 hours, the lights had been turned down. “It’s like night and […]

Albemarle County officials want to move their courts out of Court Square. Staff photo

Legal question: Can supes order Albemarle court move?

When the Albemarle Board of Supervisors passed a 4-2 resolution on November 2 directing county staff to explore options to relocate one or both of its houses of justice from downtown’s Court Square, Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci fired back with a letter questioning whether the supes even have the authority to make such a move. […]

Nicole Eramo faces the media scrum for the last time in her 17-day trial, and attorney Libby Locke says shame on Rolling Stone.
Staff photo

Day 17: Jury awards $3 million in Rolling Stone defamation trial

As former UVA dean Nicole Eramo’s marathon $7.5 million defamation suit against Rolling Stone rolled into its fourth week, a jury awarded her $3 million in damages Monday for the magazine’s November 2014 story, “A Rape on Campus.” “This was nothing short of a complete repudiation of Rolling Stone and Sabrina Erdely’s malicious journalism,” said […]

Nicole Eramo, left, leaves the courthouse after a jury found in her favor, with her attorneys Tom Clare, Andy Phillips and LIbby Locke. Photo Eze Amos

Judgment day: Jury rules in Eramo’s favor

As soon as the clerk in federal court read the first verdict finding actual malice in Nicole Eramo’s defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone reporter Sabrina Erdely, the UVA administrator crumpled against her attorney. And as the clerk went on to read more than two dozen statements upon which the jury had to decide in the […]

Jury deliberates for third day in Rolling Stone trial

Jury deliberates for third day in Rolling Stone trial

The waiting game continues Friday for Nicole Eramo, Sabrina Erdely and Rolling Stone deputy managing editor Sean Woods, along with their lawyers, support staff and the media as Day 16 in Eramo’s defamation lawsuit trial against the magazine begins and the jury deliberates for a third day. The jury will decide whether Rolling Stone acted with […]

Writer Kathy Erskine considers herself a law-abiding citizen, but found out recently that she’d been breaking the law by not having an Albemarle County home business license, which she has since obtained for a one-time $27 fee. Photo by Eze Amos

Writer tax: County is all business in targeting freelancers

In an area crawling with writers, it’s a well-known fact: Unless you’re a John Grisham or Jan Karon, the odds of being able to pay the rent by writing are pretty low. Nonetheless, that hasn’t deterred Albemarle County from requiring a $50 business occupational professional license—and collecting it for the past five years, with interest […]

Day 13: Attorneys make final pitches in Rolling Stone trial

Day 13: Attorneys make final pitches in Rolling Stone trial

It was closing argument day November 1 in U.S. District Court, the site of former UVA associate dean Nicole Eramo’s defamation trial against Rolling Stone for its now-retracted “A Rape on Campus,” and lawyers for both sides spent more than three hours each trying to sway the jury to find for their clients. Plaintiff’s attorney Tom Clare noted the “tremendous […]

Day 9: UVA believed Jackie, too, say witnesses

Day 9: UVA believed Jackie, too, say witnesses

Attorneys for plaintiff Nicole Eramo called her former boss, Dean of Students Allen Groves, to the stand October 26 to bolster her claims that she was unfairly portrayed as a callous administrator to victims of sexual assault in Rolling Stone’s article, “A Rape on Campus.” “My first impression, and it remains my impression, it painted […]

Day 3: Testimony gets heated in Rolling Stone trial

Day 3: Testimony gets heated in Rolling Stone trial

  If yesterday was an emotional sob fest, Wednesday’s proceedings in UVA administrator Nicole Eramo’s defamation lawsuit against Rolling Stone were much calmer, with the leading ladies in the suit—plaintiff Eramo and defendant/reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely—both taking the stand and both sparring with opposing counsel. It was not without emotion, however. At the lunchtime recess […]

NGIC employee Mike Sienda has gotten the okay to display a smaller Trump sign on his vehicle at work, but  the Rutherford Institute still wants clarification on what the spy center means when it calls this one a campaign vehicle. Photo by Eze Amos

Campaign trail: Spy center backs off Trump sign ban

Mike Sienda already felt aggrieved when his boss at the National Ground Intelligence Center’s Rivanna Station told him in early September to not show up on grounds with his giant Trump-Pence signs on the side of his box truck. When he was told he couldn’t park on the federal property with a smaller Trump 2016: […]

Day 1:  Jurors selected in Eramo v. Rolling Stone defamation trial

Day 1: Jurors selected in Eramo v. Rolling Stone defamation trial

Nearly two years after Rolling Stone put UVA in the national spotlight with an article called “A Rape on Campus,” 100 potential jurors crammed into U.S. District Court October 17 for the start of a 12-day trial to determine whether the magazine, reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely and Wenner Media LLC defamed former UVA associate dean […]

JoAnn Robertson makes an impassioned appeal to boycott City Council. 
Staff photo

Activist calls for boycott of City Council

JoAnn Robertson has had enough. She was appalled at conditions facing elderly and disabled residents at Crescent Halls who spent the summer without air conditioning. Now she’s calling for a boycott of City Council in protest of its new public comment rules that went into effect in February—and that already have drawn a lawsuit. At […]

Bad idea: Constitution of Virginia author Dick Howard advises against amendments, especially for social and economic issues. Photographed here in 2006, when he warned against the now-unconstitutional definition of marriage amendment.
JACK LOONEY

Legal opinion: Don’t clutter the Constitution of Virginia

Virginia voters will notice two constitutional amendments on the ballot in November, and given past history, they’ll probably pass them, despite legal experts concerns that such amendments clunk up the state constitution. The first amendment on the ballot enshrines an existing right-to-work statute that prohibits employers from requiring union membership. The second allows spouses of […]

The Greenbrier was bilked by its former fine dining director, who took a job at Darden while the hotel thought he was seeking cancer treatment.

Photo Bobak Ha’Eri

Fake cancer survivor gets 14 months

Carmelo “Carmine” Carrozza, who claimed he had cancer and collected paychecks from The Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs while taking a job at the Darden School Foundation, was sentenced October 5 to 14 months in prison for wire fraud and ordered to pay more than $48,000 in restitution, according to a release from the […]

More lights are going up at Zenith Quest’s facility on Route 151 in Nelson County.

Anna Kariel/SkycladAP

Night lights: Munitions company shines in Rockfish Valley

David Connolly used to gaze out the windows of his Afton Mountain home and see twinkling lights and the occasional headlight in the valley below. That was before Zenith Quest International “fired up the lights,” he says, of its already controversial, 84,000-square-foot firearms and ammunition distribution warehouse smack in the middle of Nelson County’s scenic […]

Jane Dittmar and Tom Garrett on running for Virginia's 5th Congressional seat. Photos by Eze Amos

Toss up? Down ticket in the 5th District

In a normal election year, the incumbent Republican 5th District congressman would run for re-election and win. That’s how it works. Incumbents are always favored, and in a gerrymandered district, they’ve already picked their voters. Turns out 2016 is anything but a normal election year. At the top of the ticket are two of the […]

Albemarle’s new police chief, Ron Lantz, wants to foster cooperation during encounters 
with police.
Eze Amos

Interact this way: Albemarle police pocket guide raises concerns

A just-printed Albemarle County Police Department pamphlet was intended to build trust and cooperation between citizens and law enforcement during interactions that are now under a national spotlight. Its content, however, has alarmed some local attorneys, who say the guide’s instructions are incorrect or even unconstitutional. “The document is very concerning,” says Legal Aid Justice […]

UVA prof Siva Vaidhyanathan calls Starving the Beast a “blow against the ideologues against higher education.”
Courtesy Starving the Beast

Commodity U: Starving the Beast looks at the dismantling of public education

Ever wonder why Virginia’s vaunted flagship university gets such paltry state funding? To the filmmakers of Starving the Beast, that’s an ideological decision. The documentary, produced by Violet Crown owner Bill Banowsky, connects the dots between a movement to cut funding in public universities that started around Ronald Reagan’s presidency. The Texas-based filmmakers—University of Texas […]

Jody Kielbasa fills in the highlights of the 29th Virginia Film Festival.
Staff photo

Film fest announces lineup—mostly

Virginia Film Festival director Jody Kielbasa promised today “the best program in my eight years at the festival” for this year’s November 3-6 cinemathon. The 29th festival will include screen legends Shirley MacLaine and Liv Ullman, and auteur Werner Herzog. What Kielbasa did not reveal was the opening night film, typically a made-in-Virginia effort. He gave that honor […]

Are the orange stripes too much? Governor Terry McAuliffe checks out polos at Mincer's.
Staff photo

Governor goes shopping at Mincer’s

Governor Terry McAuliffe popped into Mincer’s on the Corner this afternoon because he likes to visit small businesses—and he needed a new polo shirt. “Extra large,” says McAuliffe. “I’m pumped.” He was in Charlottesville to speak to UVA scholars at the Center for Politics and he’d had lunch “with Larry and Terry—” Professor Larry Sabato […]

Karim Ginena wants people to learn more about Islam and the Muslims in the community.

Photo Eze Amos

Open house: Mosque stresses peace during times of hate

Up the road, Culpeper County denied a permit in April to the Islamic Center of Culpeper, which wants to build a new mosque, and the Department of Justice is now taking a look at that action. Here in Charlottesville, members of the Islamic Society of Central Virginia, which cut the ribbon on its own facility […]

Mark Brown says he’s not angry the city rebuffed scenarios to settle the Water Street Garage litigation, but he is selling the Main Street Arena and looking for more hospitable municipalities.

Photo Jackson Smith

Hell no: City responds to parking center proposals

In the ongoing melodrama between the city and Charlottesville Parking Center owner Mark Brown, a letter from City Manager Maurice Jones says there’s no way the city will sell its Water Street Parking Garage shares to or even work with Brown, who, perhaps not coincidentally, announced plans to sell the Main Street Arena and take […]