Knock, knock. Who’s [not] there?
Sears. Sweethaus. Performance Bicycle. And Brown’s Cleaners, just to name a few recent local closings that left community members shocked, and in at least one case, without their clothes.
The closing of Sears at Fashion Square Mall heralds the demise of one of America’s most iconic retailers, known for its mail-order catalogue more than 100 years before Amazon appeared on the scene. The Charlottesville store has been at the mall since it opened in 1980.
Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce president Elizabeth Cromwell says it’s not unexpected that companies will move away, merge, or close their doors for good—but it matters how they do it.
“There is a natural cycle for business communities,” says Cromwell. “How these organizations communicate changes to their customers is critical.”
While most of the closings were abrupt, Brown’s is of a different magnitude.
Signs suddenly posted on the doors of its four locations on Christmas Eve directed customers to check the legal section of the Daily Progress for information on where and when to pick up their held-hostage dry cleaning. It then took about a week and a half for any information to be published on how to reunite people with their belongings.
If you’re wondering, clothes can be picked up from 8am to noon at the High Street location, and 1:30pm to 5:30pm at the Preston Avenue location January 7-11 and January 15-18. Dry cleaning left at the Millmont Street and Ivy Road stores can be picked up on High Street. All furs will be at the Preston location.
And a GoFundMe has been started for the reported 34 employees who learned on that December holiday that they no longer had a job. At press time, it had raised approximately $7,000.
Quote of the week
“I didn’t want to be that person that has to see a sports psychologist … [but] it didn’t just help me on the court, it helped me in life.”—UVA basketball player and ACC Player of the Week Kyle Guy talks about anxiety and stress to SB Nation
Legal Aid roll
After persuading a judge to issue an injunction on the suspension of driver’s licenses for unpaid fines, Legal Aid Justice Center scored another victory in federal court January 2, when Judge Norman Moon ruled the Fluvanna Correctional Center for Women had violated a 2016 settlement agreement to improve its “constitutionally deficient” medical care. At least four women have died since the settlement, and Moon gave the prison 45 days to correct violations.
Legendary coach dies
Former UVA football coach George Welsh, who led the Cavaliers to a pinnacle unseen since he retired after the 2000 season, died January 2 at age 85. Hall of Famer Welsh took over the Virginia program in 1982 and guided the team to 12 bowl games, two ACC co-championships, and a 9-10 record against Virginia Tech, which has since beaten UVA for 15 straight seasons.
Another A12 sentence
Daniel Borden, an Ohio man who was 18 when he came to the Unite the Right rally, will serve three years and 10 months for his part in the brutal parking garage beating of DeAndre Harris. The prosecutor and judge agreed Borden appeared “gleeful” in videos taken after the attack, but his age and guilty plea mitigated the sentence. Two others charged in the event are serving six and eight years.
Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney says the department is currently down 22 officers, and salary, lack of take-home cars, post-August 12 attitudes, and the demeanor of those on the Police Civilian Review Board are to blame, according to the Daily Progress. Outgoing Sheriff Chip Harding suggested Brackney could be the problem, prompting an impromptu press conference by City Manager Mike Murphy.
Three people have announced runs for open seats on City Council now held by Wes Bellamy, Kathy Galvin, and Mike Signer. Community organizers Don Gathers and Michael Payne launched campaigns January 8 for the June 11 Dem primary nomination, and Sena Magill joined the race January 9. No word yet from the incumbents on their plans.
By the numbers
Second-wettest year ever
Record-breaking rainfall made 2018 the second-soggiest year since McCormick Observatory started keeping records 118 years ago. The week before Christmas, 2018 held the No. 4 spot with 68.69 inches, but over the holiday more than three inches drenched the area to put the year’s total at 72.14 inches, barely eking by No. 3, 1937, and over two inches shy of the No. 1 year—super-moist 2003, which followed worst-drought 2002.
And in top 25 wettest years since 1900, six of those have happened since 2000. Time to invest in rain boots?
Top five rainiest years
1. 2003 74.55″
2. 2018 72.14″
3. 1937 72.07″
4. 1948 69.72″
5. 1972 66.03″
Numbers provided by Jerry Stenger, director of the State Climatology Office at UVA.