In brief: Bad prank, bad parking, bad practices and more

Staff photo Staff photo

Meter’s not running

Crews are set to start ripping meters out of the ground this week after City Council voted at its January 2 meeting to indefinitely suspend the parking meter pilot that began on streets surrounding the Downtown Mall in September.

“It seemed pointless to try to convince the manufacturer to continue to loan us this equipment,” says parking manager Rick Siebert, who was initially hired to implement the program. “We obviously didn’t want to pay rent with no revenue coming in.”

With no reimplementation date in sight, Siebert says he’s disappointed that the city seems to have permanently pumped the brakes on the pilot, and he’ll continue to work toward a solution to Charlottesville’s well-documented parking problem.

“We had some issues with parking before that led to hiring Nelson\Nygaard to do the study, which led to the initiation of the meter pilot,” he says. “Those issues haven’t just evaporated.”

By the numbers

  • 28 meters
  • 13 pay stations
  • 71 days in service
  • $51,490 generated in revenue
  • $42,995 paid in rent
  • $20,000 for a 2016 parking meter pilot implementation plan by Nelson\Nygaard
  • $500,000 for startup funds allocated by City Council in 2016 for personnel and initial equipment costs, including a $73,000 salary for hiring a parking manager

“Voting is the civic sacrament of democracy.”—James Alcorn, chair of Virginia Board of Elections, before a random drawing to determine the winner of House District 94 and control of the House of Delegates

Not funny

A teen hoaxer who on social media advised Monticello High students to not go to school January 8 underneath a photo of guns was charged with a Class 5 felony for making threats to harm people on school property. The post alarmed other schools around the country with MHS initials, and at least one in Pennsylvania canceled classes.


Mark Hormuz Dean. Photo Albemarle County Police

Police arrested Mark Hormuz Dean, 50, a physician at the Albemarle Pain Management Associates Clinic, on January 5 for two counts of rape, two counts of object sexual penetration and one count of forcible sodomy, which he has allegedly committed on the job since 2011. Dean has worked in pain management in Charlottesville since 2003, and performed more than 10,000 interventional pain procedures, according to the clinic’s website.



It’s about time

At the January 4 Board of Supervisors meeting, Governor Terry McAuliffe signed a 99-year lease that gives Albemarle County control of the 1,200-acre Biscuit Run Park, which the state has owned since 2010 and agreed to help open to the public.

Town crier

Photo Eze Amos

Christopher Cantwell has filed a lawsuit against anti-racist activists Emily Gorcenski and Kristopher Goad, who accused the “Crying Nazi” of spraying them with a caustic substance at UVA on August 11. Cantwell’s complaint claims the activists “framed” him in the alleged attack by spraying themselves with mace.





New county leadership

File photo

While perhaps not as monumental as Charlottesville’s election of its first African-American female mayor, Albemarle County’s Board of Supervisors has also picked new leaders. Ann Mallek has been named chair for the fifth nonconsecutive year and Norman Dill will serve as vice chair.




Trial date set

A three-week jury trial is scheduled to begin November 26 for James Alex Fields, the man who plowed his car into a crowd of counterprotesters on August 12. Fields is charged with first-degree murder, five counts of malicious wounding, three counts of aggravated malicious wounding and failing to stop at the scene of a crash.




Another missing person found dead

Three days after missing woman Molly Meghan Miller was found dead in her home on January 1, police found Arthur Mills, the Fluvanna County man who was reported missing January 3, dead on the side of Oliver Creek Road. His cause of death is unknown.


Downtown loses some sparkle

Submitted photo

Frances Gibson Loose, longtime owner of Tuel Jewelers, died January 5 at age 86. For 65 years, she showed up for work, always professionally dressed, until about a week before she passed away.

When Loose bought the store in 1975, she was the only female business owner downtown, and according to her daughter, Mary Loose DeViney, she told another woman in a male-dominated field, “I’m going to do it my way and you will, too.”

She was a member of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, which named her Small Business Person of the Year in 2009.

Loose was well-known and well-liked and was often called “Mom” by her many friends, says DeViney. “She extended credit to people that others wouldn’t have—and they paid her. She just believed in people.”

People from all walks of life came to the store just to talk to Loose. “I’ve got to talk to Momma,” DeViney heard regularly. “I shared my mom with all kinds of people.”

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