In brief: Not public domain, not homophobic, not best state to work, and more

Ronnie Roberts' website before Monticello asked his campaign to remove photo of Jefferson's home. Ronnie Roberts’ website before Monticello asked his campaign to remove photo of Jefferson’s home.

Monticello not pleased

The website of Ronnie Roberts, independent candidate for Albemarle sheriff, used one of the county’s most iconic images—Monticello—in its background. The only problem is, the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, which owns the mountaintop manse, does not allow images of the house to be used for commercial or political purposes.

“Monticello does not endorse political candidates or campaigns,” says spokesperson Jennifer Lyon. “We’ve respectfully asked the campaign to remove that image from its website.”

The Roberts’ campaign chooses a new background after Monticello complained.

That was on September 3. By September 5, Roberts’ campaign website sported a new iconic image: the Albemarle Circuit courthouse at Court Square.

According to campaign manager John Darden, Roberts’ website developer bought a stock image of Monticello. “It appears someone voiced a complaint,” says Darden, suggesting it may have come from the camp of opponent Chan Bryant.

“No one from my campaign notified Monticello,” says Bryant. “What Ronnie uses on his website is between him and Monticello.”

“It wasn’t a big deal,” says Darden. “We’re focusing on campaigning, not on who’s using what photo.”


Quote of the week

“We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund.” —A senior official at Liberty University is one of several criticizing university president Jerry Falwell Jr.’s behavior in a bombshell Politico report.

In brief

Over the top

UVA Health System sued former patients with unpaid medical bills more than 36,000 times from 2012 to 2018, sometimes for as little as $13.91, leaving many families with no other options but to declare bankruptcy, according to the Washington Post. UVA President Jim Ryan says that he’s working to make the hospital “more generous and more humane,” and expects proposals to be announced in the next week.

Long-awaited trial

The Confederate statues lawsuit against the city finally is set to begin Wednesday, September 11. Under state law, the monuments are protected as war memorials. However, defendants argue that the statues violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. Plaintiffs in the case are seeking more than $500,000 in attorney’s fees.

Dubious distinction

Virginia is ranked the worst state for workers—for the second year in a row—in a recent Oxfam report, beating out even perennial worst-state-for-everything Mississippi. On the other hand, in July, CNBC ranked the right-to-work commonwealth the best state for businessVPM radio reports.

Amended alma mater

UVA, ahead of its September 6 football home opener, launched a video campaign to dissuade fans from singing “not gay” or “fuck Tech” during the “Good Old Song.” Notable UVA figures like actress Tina Fey and basketball player Jay Huff appeared in the video, imploring fans to refrain from singing offensive lyrics.

UVA slips in rankings

In U.S. News & World Report’s latest university rankings released September 9, UVA dropped three spots to No. 28 among national universities and fell from third to fourth place among public colleges. This snapped UVA’s unbroken 28-year streak of ranking in the top three of best public universities. UVA President Jim Ryan had announced plans earlier this year to make the school the top public university in the country by 2030.

Mobile homes get an upgrade

Habitat for Humanity of Greater Charlottesville and the Local Energy Alliance Program have teamed up to reduce high energy bills for Southwood Mobile Home Park residents. Created due to poor insulation and inefficient HVAC systems in their homes, a pilot program is in the works to provide energy-efficient, cost-reducing upgrades—like adding roof insulation, repairing or replacing HVAC systems and sealing drafty windows—to 10 mobile homes and is set to launch this fall.


Hero memorialized

From right, Ghazala and Khizr Khan are joined by Senator Tim Kaine and Representative Abigail Spanberger to honor their son. Eze Amos

The Barracks Road post office was officially renamed September 9 to memorialize fallen Army Captain Humayun Khan.

Khan, a UVA graduate, was killed in 2004 while deployed in Iraq when an explosive-filled taxicab detonated on its way into Khan’s compound. The then-27-year-old was posthumously awarded a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

Then-congressman Tom Garrett filed legislation to dedicate the post office to Khan in July 2017, but accidentally identified a contract postal unit near UVA—not the Barracks Road location—to be renamed. The erroneous address was amended this past April.

Senator Tim Kaine and 7th District Representative Abigail Spanberger joined Khizr and Ghazala Khan to unveil the honorary plaque renaming the Barracks Road facility in honor of their son.

The ceremony took place on what would have been Khan’s 43rd birthday.

photo Eze Amos

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