Charlottesville writes back
Like many Charlottesvillians, the folks at the University of Virginia Press were shocked by the events of last August. “As publishers, we felt the best thing we could do in response is publish books,” says director Mark Saunders.
Now out are Summer of Hate by former C-VILLE Weekly/Hook editor Hawes Spencer, and Charlottesville 2017: The Legacy of Race and Inequity, a collection of essays from UVA faculty.
Summer of Hate is an “objective, journalistic account,” says Saunders. “Hawes rose to the top immediately as someone trusted locally and experienced.” He has reported for other news organizations, including the New York Times on August 12. “He was best for an unbiased, objective account to put those facts on the table so people could decide,” says Saunders.
Editors Louis Nelson, UVA vice provost and professor of architectural history, and Claudrena Harold, professor of history at the Carter G. Woodson Institute, “corralled UVA faculty” to write essays for Charlottesville 2017 and to use their expertise on a range of topics from free speech to local history and the legacy of white supremacy and slavery, says Saunders.
Among the 14 essays are history professor John Edwin Mason’s “History, Mine and Ours: Charlottesville’s Blue Ribbon Commission and the Terror Attacks of August 2017.” English professor Lisa Woolfork writes “‘This Class of Persons’: When UVA’s White Supremacist Past Meets Its Future,” and Darden’s Greg Fairchild pens “How I Learned That Diversity Does Not Equal Integration.”
The collection uses “a set of experts in their own fields to unpack these topics for someone,” says Saunders. “It’s a testament that UVA has been grappling with these issues before we had these eruptions.”
Quote of the week
The safest place people think about in the world is where, a church. And we know what happened in South Carolina. Those [nine] people did not think their lives were going to end that day in church…With all the uncertainty, it’s not something you want to be wrong on.—Mayor Nikuyah Walker responds to complaints about park closures at August 6 City Council meeting
Jumper not found
Several local and state water rescue teams rushed to an I-64 overpass August 2 after a woman was seen jumping from the bridge into the Rivanna River. Police suspended search efforts around 3pm the following day because of “dangerously fast currents,” according to Virginia State Police spokesperson Corinne Geller.
Though media had published photos of windows ripped from Monticello High School during a stint of bad weather on August 2, locals were surprised to learn later that day that a two-mile, 70mph tornado, which touched down at 11am on Avon Street Extended, actually caused that mess, according to the National Weather Service.
Kind of severe weather
On the third day of this month, Charlottesville had already received 7.22 inches of rain, which is 177 percent of normal August precipitation. And we’d gotten 2,750 percent of normal month-to-date precipitation, according to climatologist Jerry Stenger.
New UVA President Jim Ryan, who officially took office August 1 (see article on p. 11), appointed two women to hold high positions of power just two days later. He named Elizabeth “Liz” Magill as executive vice president and provost and Jennifer “J.J.” Wagner Davis as executive vice president and chief operating officer. He also appointed Alejandro “Alex” Hernandez as dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
Albemarle’s deputy county attorney John Blair takes the city attorney job previously held by Craig Brown. Lisa Robertson, deputy city attorney, held down the fort in the interim.
Babysitter released for rehab
A woman who pleaded guilty in May to felony cruelty or injury to a child and to operating a home daycare without a license was in court again July 25 asking to be temporarily released from jail to seek treatment at a rehab center in Williamsburg.
A judge allowed Kathy Yowell-Rohm, the owner of the Forest Lakes daycare where police found 16 children last December—almost all with dirty, soaked diapers or crying and strapped in swings in a dark room—to attend a 30-day program at The Farley Center, a drug and alcohol addiction facility near Colonial Williamsburg.
Attorney Rhonda Quagliana said Yowell-Rohm has been sober while locked up for eight months, and has worked through every recovery program in the jail. She asked for her client to be released directly to the custody of her father, who would transport her immediately to The Farley Center.
“I think that this is a substantial investment by her family,” said Quagliana. “They wanted to make sure it would happen.” She also added that Yowell-Rohm’s mother has passed away since she’s been incarcerated.
As Yowell-Rohm, wearing an orange jail jumpsuit with a blonde bun piled on top of her head, exited the courtroom, she winked at her dad.
Prosecutor Darby Lowe noted that Yowell-Rohm was arrested for driving drunk in February 2016, for being drunk in public, and for assaulting an EMT at Scott Stadium at the UVA-Virginia Tech football game in November 2017.
“She certainly, obviously, needs treatment,” said Judge Franklin Humes.
Yowell-Rohm’s 30-day program could be extended to 90 days, if necessary, according to her attorney. She’ll be back in court for a pre-sentencing report on September 7.