Monthly Archive for July, 2004

Human Skin Lampshade in Nelson?

Nelson and southern Albemarle have been abuzz the past few days with word of an unusual item being seized before it could be auctioned off at a property sale: a WWII-era floor lamp with a shade made of human skin. Before it could be sold, a sharp-eyed investigator at the Nelson Sheriff’s office saw the auction notice in the newspaper and prevented the illegal sale of the lampshade, should it actually be made of human remains. Now its owner would like for the Holocaust Museum to test it, to see if it’s real. Odds are slim: it has long been rumored that the Nazis made lampshades out of human skin, but one has never turned up. Claudia Pinto has the story in today’s Progress.

JMRL Rejects Move to Jefferson School

The Jefferson Madison Regional Library board has rejected the Jefferson School Task Force’s recommendation that the library relocate to the Jefferson School. The library director cited a lack of space and structural problems, saying that perhaps it would be better suited for the library’s administrative offices or for a Mont-AVV expansion. Elizabeth Nelson has the story in today’s Progress.

Lawsuit Over Rapist DNA Testing

Charlottesville resident Larry Monroe has filed suit against Detective James Mooney for harassment, alleging that Mooney repeatedly sought a DNA sample from Monroe to remove himself from the pool of potential suspects in the rape case, despite Monroe’s refusals and the fact that he does not substantially resemble the rapist. His attorney, Deborah Wyatt, says that the detective’s actions were not those of the police department, and is seeking just $15,000 in damages. The fact that somebody would file suit has seemed all-but-inevitable, after the national press that the Charlottesville Police got because of this profiling before they suspended the testing in April. Liesel Nowak had the story in Wednesday’s Progress.

Disclosure: Deborah Wyatt represented me in Schleifer vs. City of Charlottesville, the youth curfew case, some years ago.

Fashion Square Kidnapping: Real?

Two weeks ago, the three major local media outlets (WVIR, WINA, and the Progress) all reported extensively on the attempted kidnapping of an eight-year-old boy at Fashion Square Mall and its prevention by an anonymous hero. Oddly, in the time since, there’s been no followup, no police leads, and no evidence. It’s become unclear whether or not the story is true, but none of these media outlets have followed up to let people know what’s going on. In a great bit of news analysis, Lisa Province follows up in this week’s Hook.

City Foresees Financial Trouble

At last night’s Council meeting, City Manager Gary O’Connell warned that the city’s finances are altogether too dependent on real estate tax revenues, which he described as unhealthy and bad for the market. O’Connell advocates a 5% limit on new real estate tax revenues and raising other fees and taxes in order to compensate. O’Connell’s suggestions normally come along with the issuance of an annual financial report to Council, presented each November, but he felt that the urgency of the situation necessitated some earlier notice. Elizabeth Nelson has the story in today’s Progress.