In brief: Salamander sightings, Halsey Minor sighting, basketball team sightings and more

Game Day at UVA.
Photo Ryan Jones Game Day at UVA. Photo Ryan Jones

We’re No. 1

Despite Saturday’s overtime loss at JPJ to Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia men’s basketball team was ranked No. 1 in Monday’s Associated Press Top 25 for the first time in more than 35 years. The Hoos (23-2) also became the first ACC team to make it to No. 1 after starting the season unranked (not to mention having been predicted to finish sixth in the ACC).

Clean Virginia

Dominion Energy is coming under fire with legislation and a new PAC that donates to legislators who forego contributions from the electric monopoly. Clean Virginia Project, chaired by local investor Michael Bills, will contribute to delegates and senators in the General Assembly who eschew Dominion donations. Former congressman Tom Perriello has joined the effort.

“I don’t think you can understand the country today if you don’t understand the legacies of slavery and how they have shaped our understanding of rights, freedoms and opportunities.”—Montpelier President & CEO Kat Imhoff

Tinsley takes a break

Dave Matthews Band violinist Boyd Tinsley announced he would not be joining the band on its 2018 tour, tweeting that he was “worn out” and needed to spend more time with his family.

Halsey’s crypto utopia

UVA alum/CNET founder Halsey Minor, the man who left downtown Charlottesville with the Landmark eyesore, is now casting his magic in Puerto Rico, where he’s part of a migration of blockchain and bitcoin entrepreneurs flocking to the hurricane-ravaged island to avoid taxes and create a society based on cryptocurrency, the New York Times reports.

More charges

A judge certified eight additional charges against Mark Hormuz Dean, an Albemarle Pain Management Associates physician, who was arrested January 5 on two counts of rape, two counts of object sexual penetration and one count of forcible sodomy for allegedly assaulting patients between 2011 and 2015.

Cross watch

Photo Devin Floyd

Why did the salamander cross the road? Ah, this one’s easy: To get to the other side. It takes a warm, wet winter night for more than 1,000 spotted salamanders to start their 100-yard migration, crossing Rio Mills and Polo Grounds roads from their forested homes to their vernal pool breeding grounds.

Because navigating across the busy roads often ends badly for the local yellow polka-dotted amphibians, they no longer have to do it alone. Each year, a team of dozens of community members are on standby, waiting for Devin Floyd, founder of the Center for Urban Habitats and Blue Ridge Discovery Center in Charlottesville, to send out an alert that the critters are on their way.

This year’s migration started the night of February 10, and regular salamander rescuer and Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Chair Ann Mallek was there to help by picking up 10 of 46 amphibians on the side of Rio Mills and hand-delivering them across Polo Grounds Road.

“They were cold and slow until they rested on our hands, then quickly warmed up for their last sprint to the vernal pools,” she says.

But they’re not done yet—Mallek urges drivers to keep an eye out for any salamander stragglers when passing through the area until migration stops around mid-March.

February 10 salamander stats:

  • 46 salamanders
  • 3 critter casualties
  • 33 human volunteers

Real estate rising

Local assessments have been mailed and residential and commercial real estate is still going up. The increases, however, are a far cry from last year’s city commercial assessments, which saw an average 29 percent increase but soared to 50 percent or more in some cases.


Residential increase in Charlottesville


Residential increase in Albemarle’s urban ring


County commercial increase


City commercial increase

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