Bypass reroute, fatal crash, downtown fire, UVA accreditation: News briefs

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Crews tore down what was left of a city-owned building on Water Street used to store records and equipment for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department after a 6:20am fire destroyed the structure. The damage was too extensive to determine the cause of the blaze, officials said. The city’s Holiday Market, scheduled for Saturday, December 21, will go on as scheduled in the Water Street parking lot surrounding the now-vacant building site. Photo: Martin Kyle Crews tore down what was left of a city-owned building on Water Street used to store records and equipment for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department after a 6:20am fire destroyed the structure. The damage was too extensive to determine the cause of the blaze, officials said. The city’s Holiday Market, scheduled for Saturday, December 21, will go on as scheduled in the Water Street parking lot surrounding the now-vacant building site. Photo: Martin Kyle

Check c-ville.com daily and pick up a copy of the paper Wednesdays for the latest Charlottesville and Albemarle news briefs and stories. Here’s a quick look at some of what we’re following.

Bypass could change paths

In an effort to avoid the historic cemetery threatened by the Western Bypass, VDOT is eyeing the Ivy Ridge neighborhood as a potential new path for one leg of  the controversial road, according to The Daily Progress. Six of the homes in the neighborhood, with a total market value of $3 million, would need to go to make way for the road, and at least one homeowner is not pleased.

“We’re going to get screwed, we are getting screwed, and we could potentially get even more screwed,” homeowner Brian Rizzo told the Progress, estimating that the Bypass’ proximity to the neighborhood has already caused home values to dip by as much as $100,000.

Fatal crash on 53

An early morning crash in the 2900 block of the Thomas Jefferson parkway (Route 53) killed one and sent two occupants of the second vehicle to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries on Sunday, December 15. According to a press release, Albemarle County police responded to the accident at 3:17am and discovered both vehicles in flames.

As of Tuesday, December 17, police had still not released the name of the deceased, pending positive identification from the medical examiner, said police spokesperson Carter Johnson. The narrow, winding Parkway has been the site of other serious accidents including the 2007 crash that killed Jessica Lester, a 25-year-old aspiring nurse, who was fatally injured when a concrete truck rolled over on her car in the 900 block.

UVA’s status ‘unblemished’

One year after the controversial removal and subsequent reinstatement of University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges has downgraded the University’s “warning” status concerning its governance standards.

The Atlanta-based SACSCOC put the University on a 12-month warning last December following an inspection that determined it fell below standards for the agency’s Principles of Accreditation. The warning status was given in reaction to the infamous requested removal of Sullivan due to internal conflict in the Board of Visitors, led by former Rector Helen E. Dragas. Sullivan willingly stepped down, but was reinstated later that month.

In particular, the agency found the University fell short of requirements for adequate faculty involvement in governance, and criticized the ability of a minority of board members to pressure Sullivan’s removal.

In response, the University established a number of reforms to the Board of Visitor’s deliberative policies, including greater detail regarding the president’s evaluation and performance goals and further participation by faculty in board committees. On Tuesday, the agency restored the University’s status to “unblemished” after determining that the amendments properly addressed prior concerns, and were in compliance with the agency’s Principles of Accreditation.

The UVA Faculty Senate’s vote of no confidence in the board still stands.

Dave Norris bids City Council farewell

Former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris attended his last meeting as a member of Charlottesville’s City Council this week, where he was presented with a key to the city by Mayor Satyendra Huja.

Norris, consistently a champion of social justice issues and the rights of public housing residents, was first elected in 2006. His fellow councilors elected him mayor in 2008 and 2010. He chose not to seek another term this year.

Photos: Downtown fire destroys city-owned building

On Sunday, crews tore down what was left of a city-owned building on Water Street used to store records and equipment for the city’s Parks and Recreation Department after a 6:20am fire destroyed the structure. The damage was too extensive to determine the cause of the blaze, officials said. The city’s Holiday Market, scheduled for Saturday, December 21, will go on as scheduled in the Water Street parking lot surrounding the now-vacant building site. Photo: Martin Kyle

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Photo: Martin Kyle
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Photo: Martin Kyle
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Photo: Martin Kyle
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Photo: Martin Kyle

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