In brief: Category 4, $1 penalty, Foxfield continued and more

photo NASA photo NASA

Florence and the rain machine

Charlottesville was relatively unscathed from last year’s big hurricanes: Harvey and Category 5s Irma and Maria. But as stock brokers often warn, past performance is not indicative of future results. And the warnings for Hurricane Florence, currently a Category 4 and still days away at press time, are catastrophic.

Governor Ralph Northam issued a state of emergency September 10, and ordered mandatory evacuations for low-lying areas of Hampton Roads and the Eastern Shore. Governors of both North Carolina, which sits squarely in Florence’s current path, and South Carolina have also ordered coastal evacuations.

It’s the projected rainfall that has many nervous after heavy rains in May caused flash flooding and took the lives of two Albemarle residents. Charlottesville already is 12 inches above average, with over 41 inches of rain as of September 10, according to Weather Underground. At press time, the National Hurricane Center has Charlottesville mapped to receive 10 inches of rain from Florence.

More preliminary reports: Some bottled water shortages have already appeared, and expect gas prices to go up.

Quote of the week

“When you vote, you’ve got the power to make sure white nationalists don’t feel emboldened to march with their hoods off or their hoods on in Charlottesville in the middle of the day.”—Former President Barack Obama on the midterm campaign trail September 7 at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


In brief

Two officers shot

Gunfire at Hardy Drive September 8 left three men wounded, including two officers who responded to reports of shots at 8:43pm, and Timothy Lamont Miles, 27, who was charged with attempted capital murder and felon with a gun. Miles, who is known to police, has a lengthy rap sheet that includes a history of brandishing firearms, burglary, multiple assaults, resisting arrest, and multiple other charges.


Paying the price

In February, a jury found Jeff Winder guilty of assaulting Jason Kessler at his August 13, 2017, press conference in front of City Hall. The alleged assaulter appealed the conviction, and was found guilty again last week, when a new jury fined him $1 for slugging the man who planned the Unite the Right rally. Afterward, an outpouring of people asked on social media if they could also punch Kessler for a buck.

‘Monumental change needed’

A new billboard in town, paid for by the Make It Right Project, supports anti-racist activists in their attempt to have Confederate statues removed. It’s neighbors with another East High Street signboard that glorifies “Stonewall” Jackson, and was paid for by the Virginia Flaggers.

Crozet train crash lawsuit

The father of Dennis “DJ” Eddy, who had been working for Time Disposal a short time when an Amtrak train slammed into the garbage truck in which he was a passenger and killed him, filed a $10 million lawsuit against CSX, which owns the track, and Buckingham Branch, which operates it. Multiple people have said there were frequent problems with the crossing arm.

CFA layoffs

CFA Institute, an international association for investment professionals that renovated the former Martha Jefferson Hospital and made it its headquarters in 2014, laid off 31 employees in Charlottesville and New York, according to NBC29. The employees received severance packages and were encouraged to apply for 50 open positions, many in Charlottesville.


The fight over Foxfield continues

Parties in a lawsuit over whether the Garth Road property that’s home to the Foxfield Races can be sold for development expected a judge to make a decision September 11.

At the hearing in Albemarle Circuit Court, more than a dozen horse racing fans had green stickers on their lapels that featured a cartoon fox and said, “Save Foxfield Races.”

Instead of reaching a decision, Judge Cheryl Higgins took motions under advisement. She asked for more evidence from attorneys defending the Foxfield Racing Association, which now owns the property and wants to sell it, and from those representing seven Albemarle residents with connections to the races who are fighting the potential sale.

The plaintiffs say the original landowner, Mariann S. de Tejada, said in her will that the land should remain intact in perpetuity for the races. The Foxfield Racing Association argues that de Tejada didn’t specifically state the creation of a trust for the property.

Higgins said she isn’t able to determine whether there’s a trust that would prevent the sale, and also suggested a settlement between the parties.

“Our objective is to protect the Foxfield Races—if not by a settlement, then by a continuation of the lawsuit,” plaintiffs attorney Bill Hurd said outside the courthouse. He also said he’s “happy to” dig up more evidence to prove an intended trust.

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