In brief: ‘Hit piece,’ the unshrouder and more

Nikuyah Walker admits she doesn’t follow the rules very well.

Staff photo Nikuyah Walker admits she doesn’t follow the rules very well. Staff photo

But her emails

Independent City Council candidate Nikuyah Walker was the target of a November 4 story in the Daily Progress that she and her supporters called a “hit piece”—three days before the election—in which an anonymous source in City Hall questions her ability to “work collaboratively with city officials.” The story described her emails to officials as “aggressive” and “often confrontational.”

“Advocates for social justice don’t always behave politely.”—Joy Johnson to City Council on the topic of protesters arrested at their August 21 meeting

Blank slate

Dillwyn’s entire town council is up for re-election, but when the longtime clerk retired, no one reminded the councilors to register as candidates to be on the ballot. The ballot will be blank, and Dillwyn’s 244 registered voters must write in the names of the seven councilors they want to elect, according to the Progress.

Fogel files again

Civil rights attorney Jeff Fogel is suing Charlottesville, City Manager Maurice Jones and law firm Hunton & Williams on behalf of five plaintiffs, contending that Jones had no authority to hire the firm’s partner Tim Heaphy to do an independent review of the city’s response to the events of August 12.

Jeff Fogel, with plaintiffs Joy Johnson, Tanesha Hudson and Walt Heinecke, wants the city to fire Tim Heaphy. Staff photo

An end to Democracy

Nelson County’s Democracy Vineyards, which opened in 2007, announced it will close after Thanksgiving this year.

Another attempt

Around 1am November 5, city police arrested Brian Lambert in Emancipation Park and charged him with vandalism, trespassing and being drunk in public for allegedly cutting the orange fencing surrounding the Robert E. Lee statue. Lambert, arrested for being drunk at UVA on September 12, when students shrouded their Thomas Jefferson statue, is also one of three people who attempted to uncover General Lee on September 16.


Charlottesville High’s code-writing wunderkinds in Best All-Around Club of Nerds win first place in the first round of NASA and  MIT’s Zero Robotics competition.

Keep ’em at home

Signs at Water Street Garage, Rapture and UVA lawn. Photos staff and Emily Bagdasarian

While another tragic mass shooting made headlines over the weekend, some Charlottesville institutions are putting forth their best effort to make this city bulletproof.

Twelve days before a man who was booted out of the Air Force for domestic violence dressed in all-black tactical gear and shot up a First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, killing 26 and injuring 20 others, about a dozen signs prohibiting all weapons appeared at every entry point on the University of Virginia Lawn.

UVA spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn did not respond to multiple interview requests about the warnings, but other local entities that ban firearms were willing to discuss their decisions.

Charlottesville Parking Center officials posted “No Guns” signs in the Water Street Parking Garage in the immediate aftermath of the August 12 Unite the Right rally, according to general manager and former mayor Dave Norris.

“We were concerned when we saw dozens of heavily-armed neo-Nazis using the garage as a staging area on the morning of August 12 and had no grounds to ask them to leave, and received no response from law enforcement when we reported this activity to them,” says Norris. “Now that the signs are in place, we are better equipped to manage situations like this in the future.”

As for the sticker on Rapture’s door that bans firearms, owner Mike Rodi says it was largely in response to the summer’s “hate rallies,” when KKK and Unite the Right protesters “made it clear that they would take advantage of Virginia’s open carry laws and come armed.”

The owner of the Downtown Mall restaurant says businesses near the epicenter of the deadly rally “used every tool at their disposal to keep racist troublemakers out,” and signage was part of that. On August 12, many businesses also posted dress code signs banning hate symbols.

Rapture has long had a no-gun policy, says Rodi. “Guns and booze don’t mix.”

Other businesses posted no-gun signs before this summer. In late 2015, shoppers in Whole Foods became upset when they spotted a man packing heat in the produce section. Though Virginia is an open-carry state, Whole Foods’ corporate policy bans all weapons, and a sign declaring so was posted on its door by January 2016.

Eugene Williams Day

Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy presents Eugene Williams with a proclamation on his 90th birthday. Staff photo

Charlottesville’s legendary civil rights leader Eugene Williams turned 90 November 6, and Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy presented him with a proclamation declaring the day Eugene Williams Day at a birthday celebration November 4 at the Boar’s Head Inn.

As president of the local NAACP chapter in the 1950s, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Brown v. Board of Education that separate but equal schools didn’t cut it, Williams recruited plaintiffs to sue the Charlottesville School Board.

In 1980, Williams convinced his wife, Lorraine, brother Albert and sister-in-law Emma to sink their life savings into Dogwood Housing to provide
affordable housing to families throughout the city, bucking the trend of housing the poor in projects.

And the proclamation declares, “Eugene Williams has served as a symbolic conscience of Charlottesville for what is right and fair for all people and for bridging the diverse parts of the Charlottesville community.”

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