In brief: More white nationalists, more arrests and a drought warning

About 40-50 white nationalists attended the October 7 tiki torch flash mob, most wearing khakis and white colored shirts. Photo by Jalane Schmidt About 40-50 white nationalists attended the October 7 tiki torch flash mob, most wearing khakis and white colored shirts. Photo by Jalane Schmidt


They said they’d be back

UVA alumni/white nationalist Richard Spencer, who was maced by police the last time he was here August 12, showed up at Emancipation Park under cover of dark October 7 for a tiki-torch flash mob that police say started around 7:40pm, lasted approximately five to 10 minutes and consisted of about 40 to 50
people—most wearing what’s become the uniform of neo-Nazis, khakis and white collared shirts.

Witnesses identified his alt-right buddies Mike Enoch and Eli Mosley among the mix, but homegrown whites-righter and Unite the Right organizer Jason Kessler, whose August event drew white supremacists from 35 states, according to the Anti-Defamation League, was nowhere to be found.

Counterprotest photo by Eze Amos

Activist Jalane Schmidt, who saw the flames as she was walking home from work, says the “goons” put out their torches and hopped into vans. Police say they followed them to make sure they left the city.

Then came the response. Dozens of UVA students, faculty and community members marched from Emancipation Park to Carr’s Hill, President Teresa Sullivan’s residence, to protest the return of the extreme right-wingers and ask the university’s leader to revoke Spencer’s diploma. Police declared the gathering an unlawful assembly, and attendees dispersed without incident.

Quote of the Week:

“This is not business as usual or a classroom exercise where every threatening public utterance or assembly is met with ‘freedom of speech.’” —City Councilor Bob Fenwick, who calls the October 7 reappearance of white supremacists “a clear and present danger to the community.”


Buford lockdown

Days after the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, terrified Buford Middle School seventh- and eighth-graders hid behind and under desks October 5 for part of the nearly hour-long incident, according to school officials. Police requested the lockdown because a person believed to be carrying a knife and involved in a rape was seen in the vicinity. Johnson Elementary also was on lockdown.

UVA protest. Photo: Rachel Coldren

Bicentennial arrests

UVA police arrested three student protesters for trespassing at the university’s bicentennial celebration October 6. As alumna Katie Couric was introducing the next act, they took the stage and unveiled a banner that read “200 years of white supremacy.” Hannah Russell-Hunter, Joshua Williams and Lossa Zenebe face Class 1 misdemeanors.

Spokeswoman departing

Miriam Dickler, city director of communications, will leave her nearly $91K a year job early in 2018 after five years. During the preparations for Unite the Right in August, Mayor Mike Signer accused her of bordering on “insubordination” for balking at working with a PR firm he wanted to hire. Dickler says she wants to “take some time and consider other opportunities and avenues.”

Arrests, white supremacy cont’d

Photo: © Zach D Roberts/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press

An iconic photo from the deadly August 12 rally shows Deandre Harris on the ground in the Market Street Parking Garage, surrounded by a group of white men kicking and beating him. Now, someone has alleged that Harris started the fight, and city police have issued a warrant for his arrest for unlawful wounding.

Robo World

Paul Perrone and Governor McAuliffe. Staff photo

Perrone Robotics will invest $3.8 million in driverless car research in Crozet, which will create 127 jobs. An elected official-studded announcement October 6 drew Governor Terry McAuliffe, Congressman Tom Garrett and Delegate Steve Landes, as well as a quorum of Albemarle supervisors.


Shallow waters

The last time Charlottesville saw a major drought was in 2002, when water was so scarce that restaurants started using paper plates and plastic utensils instead of washing dishes. We’re not there yet, but the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority bumped its drought watch to a drought warning October 5, when water storage at the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir hit 42 percent capacity—which was 100 percent August 3. That’s 370 million gallons, down from 880 million two months ago, and now the city has spoken: Conservation is no longer voluntary.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Don’t serve water at your restaurant unless asked
  • Don’t water your plants or grass
  • Don’t wash your car
  • Don’t fill your swimming pool
  • Don’t run your fountain
  • Don’t wash your street, driveway or parking lot
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