Monthly Archive for December, 2012

Hook Sued, But Case Promptly Dropped

Here’s a bit of old news that’s new to me, from Courthouse News Service: The Hook was sued for libel in September, but the lawsuit was withdrawn the very next day. Curtis Ofori claimed a dozen defamatory statements in a December 2011 article about UVA student Kathryn Russell and her alleged rape by Curtis Ofori. The possibility of a libel suit was even pondered within the article, with attorney David Heilberg speculating that Ofori would be unlikely to sue, because he wouldn’t want the resulting public scrutiny of the matter. With the lawsuit dropped, that is presumably the end of the matter.

Ownership Change, New Editor at The Hook

Two years after The Hook and C-Ville Weekly merged their parent companies, founder Hawes Spencer is selling his shares and stepping down as editor. Senior Editor Courteney Stuart, a founding staffer at the publication, will become the new editor, effective January 1. In contrast with the acrimonious 2002 split that calved The Hook from C-Ville Weekly, this is by all accounts a friendly parting of ways, with Spencer off for new opportunities. In a phone conversation with Spencer this morning, he expressed confidence in Stuart, and is clearly enthusiastic about seeing his newspaper continue after his eleven-year time at the helm.

Army Corps Wants to See Bypass Alternatives

The Army Corps of Engineers needs to be convinced that there aren’t better ideas than the Western Bypass, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The news organization learned about this by a FOIA request. The road will impact about three acres of wetland and seven thousand feet of stream frontage, and the Corps’ job is to make sure that this causes as little harm as possible, which means providing a permit only for the solution to the transportation problem at hand that has the least impact on those resources. Although some studies along these lines have been performed, they were done two decades ago, and are quite possibly no longer meaningful. The Corps wants to know why they decided not to use grade-separated interchanges, and what parts of the Places29 project are actually going to happen. VDOT’s rushed approval process provided no time to deal with concerns like these, requiring that they be handled as they’re raised, rather than anticipating them. It’s possible that VDOT will conduct another study, although it’s also possible that they’ll persuade the Corps that it’s not necessary.

Jefferson School Open for Business

At long last, the old Jefferson School has been rehabilitated, Lisa Provence writes for The Hook. There was nearly a decade of talk about the proper use of the long-time blacks-only school, especially given its great location on 4th Street NW. A group got an $18M loan to overhaul the facility and turn it into a community resource, and it now houses Carver Recreation Center, the African American Heritage Center, and Martha Jefferson Hospital’s new wellness center (helpful now that they’ve moved out of the downtown area). PVCC, JABA, and Literacy Volunteers are also due to occupy the building, as well as a café. The public grand opening is next month.

Thomas Seeking Re-election to BOS

Rodney Thomas is running for re-election to the Board of Supervisors, Sean Tubbs writes for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The Rio District representative is at the tail end of a four-year term, the Republican’s first since defeating incumbent Democrat David Slutzky in the 2009 election. Independent Dennis Rooker and Republican Duane Snow are also coming to the end of their terms, though neither have said whether they’ll be seeking re-election.



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