As the weather warms, more people are outside and noticing just how trashy our scenic highways are. That’s when local groups that have adopted a highway under the Virginia Department of Transportation don their orange blaze vests and go clean up after their filthy neighbors.
Groups that volunteer are asked to take care of a two-mile stretch of road at least two times a year. After two pickups, the group is eligible to put its name on a blue Adopt-a-Highway sign. VDOT supplies orange trash bags, vests and roll-up signs to warn vehicles a pickup is in process, and will come remove the bags.
Some adopters have been known to abandon their highway, and resident VDOT administrator Joel DeNunzio says if a group hasn’t picked up in a certain amount of time, it can lose its blue signage. “Certain groups may be more interested in having their names on highway signs,” he concedes.
Fortunately that’s the exception, and volunteers are welcome. “I will let anybody adopt any highway I think is safe,” says DeNunzio. “They’re only denied if I don’t think it’s safe. We don’t want to have inexperienced people or kids on dangerous roads.”
- 96 groups have adopted roads in Albemarle County
- 192 miles of road are adopted
- 189 bags of trash have been picked up by volunteers so far this year
“If the administration remains loudly silent in the face of white supremacy, it will perpetuate the University’s painful and pervasive history of racial violence.”—Petition from UVA students to President Teresa Sullivan and the Board of Visitors April 27, the same day the university issued a no trespass warning to Jason Kessler.
Beating trial begins
The first of four jury trials in the August 12 malicious wounding of DeAndre Harris got underway April 30. It took six hours to seat a jury for Jacob Goodwin, 23, from Ward, Arkansas. Goodwin’s attorney, Elmer Woodard, admits Goodwin kicked Harris but says that didn’t cause the serious injuries Harris suffered.
Sex trafficker convicted
A trial originally scheduled for five days stretched nearly two weeks before a jury, after deliberating 15 hours, convicted Quincy Edwards, 34, of 10 counts of commercial sex trafficking and of procuring a person for financial gain. The Albemarle jury recommended 22 years in prison. Edwards was arrested in 2015 at the Royal Inn, and his victim said she had sex with as many as 20 men a day for her heroin supply.
Teacher pleads guilty
Popular former CHS environmental sciences teacher Richard Wellbeloved-Stone, 57, pleaded guilty to one count of production of child pornography April 26 in U.S. District Court. He came to law enforcement’s attention while chatting with an undercover agent in the U.K. and describing his fantasies about a prepubescent girl. Police found images of a girl’s vagina on Wellbeloved-Stone’s cell phone.
Garrett’s mandatory minimums
Congressmen Tom Garrett, Jared Polis (D-CO) and Ken Buck (R-CO) introduced the Review Every Act Diligently In Total—READ IT—resolution to amend House rules to establish a mandatory minimum review period for all legislation that is brought to a vote.
Warmbiers sue North Korea
The parents of UVA student Otto Warmbier, who was held in North Korea for 17 months before being returned to the U.S. last June in an unresponsive state, have sued the rogue nation for torturing their son as Kim Jong Un makes nice with South Korea and plans a meeting with President Donald Trump. Warmbier died shortly after his return.
Drugs and horses
Albemarle County Police had a busy April 28 running a drug take-back program at Sentara Martha Jefferson and policing 15,000 racegoers at Foxfield. The number of drugs collected was down from last year, but so were the traffic tickets at Foxfield. Collecting drugs or dealing with drunk UVA students—it’s one way to enjoy a beautiful spring day. Preliminary numbers for those events are:
- 15,000 racegoers
- 5 arrests
- 31 medical emergencies, 12 known to be alcohol related
- 3 medical transports to ER
- 0 traffic tickets
- 12,000-14,000 racegoers
- 5 arrests, including 1 DUI hit-and-run crash
- 38 medical emergencies
- 2 medical transports to ER
- 19 traffic tickets
- 1 ticket for marijuana possession
- 364 vehicles
- 25 bags collected
- 768 pounds of meds
- 428 pounds of needles
- 413 vehicles
- 37 bags collected
- 1,084 pounds of meds
- 362 pounds of needles