Monthly Archive for November, 2012

Fashion Square Bungles Apparent Abduction Attempt

On Saturday afternoon, there was what sounds like an attempted child abduction at Fashion Square Mall, NBC-29 reports, but the real story is how badly Fashion Square security handled the incident. A couple was walking through the mall with their two-year-old daughter when a guy picked the girl up and tried to walk off with her. The father chased the guy down, of course, and mall security intervened and…let the guy go. And didn’t so much as call the police. Hours later, presumably starting to doubt that Fashion Square had handled things correctly, the parents called the cops. Now police are looking for a “light skinned black male with glasses…approximately 6′ 3” tall, weighing 220-235 pounds”—oddly, there is no photograph, despite the presence of security cameras throughout Fashion Square. Media outlets just get “no comment” from Simon Properties, the global real estate conglomerate that owns Fashion Square, so there’s no explanation as to why they just let the guy walk, and why there’s no photo.

11/29 Update: A suspect has been arrested.

County Sued Over Chicken Prohibition

Remember the county woman who wasn’t allowed by zoning to have miniature goats? Now a county man is suing the city for the right to keep chickens, Samantha Koon reports for the Daily Progress. A.J. Miller lives on Bennington Road, which is in the suburban neighborhood just off Barracks Road, sandwiched between Georgetown Rd. and Emmett St. He had a flock of them in the spring of 2010, but after a neighbor complained about the smell, the Zoning Board of Appeals affirmed that county zoning regulations simply don’t permit chickens to be kept in the growth area. Miller has sued the county, arguing that his constitutional rights have been violated. (Although the fourteenth amendment declares that “no state…shall deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law, there’s just not a case to be made here that there is a lack of due process of law here.)

It is strange that keeping chickens and goats is legal in the city, illegal in the urban ring, and then legal in the country. I’m not aware of any kerfuffles over goats and chickens in the city since that became permissible a few years ago. The county ought to emulate the city’s approach, and perhaps improve on it to deal with complaints about noise (i.e., no roosters) and smells (chickens shouldn’t smell at all.) I’ve got chickens and ducks, all hens—they don’t make any noise but quacks and clucks, and they certainly don’t smell like anything.

BOS Hoping for Intelligent Traffic Lights on 29

The Board of Supervisors is trying to convince VDOT to install condition-adaptive traffic lights on 29 North, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The Virginia Department of Transportation has already outfitted the Pantops area, installing Rhythm Engineering’s InSync hardware package at every intersection between Route 64 and High Street. The lights use video cameras to track the rate of traffic coming from each direction in each lane, and adjusts the lights accordingly. That way a light doesn’t stay green when there’s no oncoming traffic while cars are stacked up at a red, waiting to cross that same intersection.

VDOT isn’t enthusiastic about the proposal, because 29 North would require coordinating a couple of dozen lights at a cost of about $800,000, a rather more complex installation than they’re looking to do right now. Perhaps this should have been tried prior to spending a couple of hundred million dollars to build a bypass around our bypass.

The Pantops installation has been in place for a year now. My daily commute requires that I turn onto 250 from 20, and vice-versa. The difference has been like night and day. It used to take 3–5 light cycles for me to turn onto 20; now it takes 1–2. I get home 5–10 minutes faster every day.

A History of Gay Charlottesville

In C-Ville Weekly, J. Tobias Beard provides a thirty-year history of the gay community in Charlottesville, and no matter how much you think you know about it, you’re liable to learn more. He talks about Joan Schatzman’s Muldowney’s (the first gay bay in town), the creation of the AIDS Services Group in response to Hospice of the Piedmont’s inability to handle AIDS patients, The Silver Fox (the first openly gay bar in town, which became Triangles, which became Club 216), and this summer’s Charlottesville Pride Festival. This is a great read for folks interested in the recent history of Charlottesville.

Dumler Claims Conspiracy

Scottsville Supervisor Chris Dumler says that a pair of exes are conspiring against him, Samantha Koon writes on the Daily Progress’ unfortunate new website. Dumler was arrested a month ago on charges of forcible sodomy; in a court filing, he contends that he had a wholly consensual sexual relationship with the woman, who collaborated with an ex-girlfriend of Dumler’s in subsequently claiming that he raped her. Police have seized records showing Dumler and his accuser discussing their relationship.



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