In brief: Library shocker, UVA’s $9 million plane and more

The Northside Library on Rio Road, which opened in 2015, houses 30,000 square feet and the most checked out books.

Stephen Barling The Northside Library on Rio Road, which opened in 2015, houses 30,000 square feet and the most checked out books. Stephen Barling

Busy as a bookworm

Here in the digital age, one relic from our printing-press past is defying obsolescence: the library. The Jefferson-Madison Regional Library saw its busiest year ever in 2016, with its newest Crozet and Northside libraries contributing to the boom, according to director John Halliday. It’s not just books that account for the heavy traffic. People go to the libraries for programs, to rent space in the McIntire Room in the Central Library and to use computers or Wi-Fi. E-books are the fastest-growing segment, now making up 5 percent of the volume. The biggest problem at Northside right now is parking. “That’s a good problem to have,” says Halliday.

2016: spine-tingling year

  • 1.7 million Number of books checked out from JMRL
  • 1.2 million Users who came through library doors
  • 103,000 People with library cards
  • 10 Branches including the book mobile
  • 110 employees
  • $7.6 million budget
  • Most used branch: Central Library
  • Branch with most books checked out: Northside

In brief

Keep fighting

A judge ruled March 13 that federal court does not have jurisdiction in the Legal Aid Justice Center lawsuit against the Department of Motor Vehicles that challenged Virginia’s automatic suspension of driver’s licenses for unpaid fines, regardless of ability to pay. Charlottesville resident Damian Stinnie was one of the plaintiffs, and Legal Aid says it will continue to fight.

“Virginia law leads state judges to automatically suspend a defendant’s driver’s license for nonpayment of court fees and fines, regardless of his ability to pay. That unflinching command may very well violate Plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to due process and equal protection.”

—Judge Norman Moon in dismissing a lawsuit against the DMV

Whiskey rebellion sours

Silverback Distillery owner Denver Riggleman ended his campaign for governor, citing “business considerations, resource shortages and family health issues.” Pundits say the effect of his withdrawal on the now-three-man race for the GOP nomination will be minimal.

Chilling death

On a day where the low temperature was 21 degrees, a man, 58, was found dead on the porch of a business around 7:35am March 15 in the 1000 block of East Jefferson Street. Police said the circumstances did not appear suspicious, but it was under investigation, and the man’s remains were sent for review by a medical examiner at UVA.

Shooting and a chaser

A 17-year-old boy was shot in the 700 block of Sixth Street SE on March 16, according to city police, who said he was arrested the following day on charges of attempted malicious wounding and use of a firearm in the commission of a felony. Tyrek Wells, Cy-Lamarr Rojas and Quintus Brooks were also charged in the shooting and the subsequent high-speed chase that followed.

What’s with all the chases?

Around 4am on March 21, county police say officers deployed spike strips on Route 250 to stop a vehicle pursuit that originated in Nelson County. Charges are pending for the driver, who was attempting to turn onto I-64 and crashed his car after hitting the spikes. At press time, a police spokesperson did not yet have the driver’s name.

In plane sight

This Cessna Citation XLS is similar to the one recently purchased by UVA. Photo Peter Bakema

In December, C-VILLE reported on a $4 million jet owned by the University of Virginia Foundation since the early 2000s after a rumor that Thomas Jefferson’s university had purchased a new plane, which a
school spokesperson denied. The Federal Aviation Administration’s website documented that a new tail number, N560VA, was reserved by the foundation on December 30—just two days after our report was published—and we found that the original Cessna Citation Bravo was up for sale.

University spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn now says the foundation recently purchased an $8.8 million 2015 Cessna Citation XLS, an eight-seat, multi-engine jet flown by pilots-in-command John Farmer and Stephen Power. The old Citation Bravo sold for $950,000, he adds.

“The foundation’s previous aircraft, which was also purchased used, had been in service since 2004 and was due for a significant scheduled maintenance overhaul,” de Bruyn says. “Instead of investing in a costly overhaul, the decision was made to purchase a used aircraft and to sell the previous aircraft. The foundation, which owns the aircraft, conducted the sale and acquisition. No tuition dollars or public monies were used.”

Corrected March 22 at 9am to reflect the correct number of seats on the University of Virginia Foundation’s 2015 Cessna Citation XLS.

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