Charlottesville member of the House of Delegates David Toscano says—and police confirm—that somebody broke into their home and assaulted his wife, Nancy Tramontin. NBC 29, C-Ville Weekly, and the Daily Progress all offer detailed coverage of yesterday’s attack. 35-year-old Claire L.K. Kennedy Ogilvie has been arrested and charged with malicious wounding, abduction, and what’s variously been described as “burglary” and “entering a house armed.” In a statement, Toscano says that “she was struck by her female assailant in the head several times but never lost consciousness,” and was treated at the hospital and released. The suspect is known to the victim, presumably in part because they both participated in Semester at Sea in the fall 2010 semester. Toscano describes Ogilvie as “a person who we knew but had not seen for over a year.”
Ogilvie is a chemistry teacher at William Monroe High School (in Greene County), and apparently holds degrees from Yale, UVA, and the George Washington School of Law. On her bio on WMHS’s website, she says that she used to be a patent attorney, and that she’s been a contestant on “Jeopardy” and “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”
The suspect is being held without bond in the jail. No motive is known for the attack.
In a stunning development, the Federal Highway Administration is requiring VDOT to prove that the Western Bypass will serve any real purpose and is better than alternatives, Sean Tubbs reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. The FHA points to the growth of the region and questions whether the two-decade-old plan to build a bypass around our bypass makes sense anymore. (Spoiler alert: It doesn’t.) They’ve told VDOT to consider alternatives, which is almost certainly a euphemism for grade-separated interchanges along 29. In perhaps the most gutting line in the letter, they encourage VDOT to “work closely with local representatives to gain their support of the transportation improvement moving forward,” an acknowledgement that only a single member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors supports the proposed Western Bypass.
As Sean Tubbs writes in the article, “in combination with expected action by the Albemarle Board of Supervisors to withdraw its support, construction of the Western Bypass in the near future now appears very unlikely.”
02/20 Update: Rubbing a little salt in the wound, BOS Democrats passed a surprise resolution against the Western Bypass at last night’s meeting. Ken Boyd, the lone Republican, objected to the unexpected appearance of the resolution, which was met with laughter from the audience and some members of the board. Boyd famously engineered the same thing in 2011, in that case causing the long-dead bypass to rise up again. The whole scene last night amounted to something like revenge fantasy pornography for bypass opponents, who now hold the high ground on nearly every front, an utter reversal from the position of defeat that they occupied three years ago.
City police are issuing a lot more tickets to cyclists lately, Maggie Ambrose reports for Charlottesville Tomorrow. We’re talking about small numbers here—an increase from nine tickets in 2012 to seventeen tickets in 2013—with a plurality of the citations occurring along West Main / University Ave. (A map of every citation location is helpfully included in the article.) Bicyclists are obliged to follow the same transportation laws as motor vehicles, but some cyclists don’t seem to know or care that this is so, and ignore traffic lights, one-way signs, bike on sidewalks, etc.
Interestingly, cyclists who are cited by police are receiving points on their license, as if they had committed the same infraction while driving a car. Given that operating a bicycle doesn’t require a driver’s license, it’s hard to even see why a moving violation on a bicycle should have any impact on one’s driver’s license. (Should somebody who drives a car perfectly but a bicycle badly be punished by prohibiting them from driving a car, thus requiring them to travel by bicycle, which cannot be prohibited by the court?) That said, looking at § 46.2-492, it appears that this practice is required under the law, as there is no exception for non-motorized vehicles.
The Downtown Regal is being seriously overhauled, Graelyn Brashear writes in C-Ville Weekly. It will no longer be a Regal, and its owner and her new business partner are going to add a restaurant and cocktails. The owner of Violet Crown Cinema in Austin (it gets 4 stars on Yelp) wants to make this the second location in what he hopes will become a nationwide chain of such places. Regal’s 15-year lease recently ran out, not long after they managed to drive Vinegar Hill out of business by moving to showing mostly independent films. The new facility is slated to open by November.
President Obama and French President François Hollande will visit Monticello on Monday, The Hill reports. That’s just one day before Hollande’s state visit to the White House. In a statement, the White House said that “the residence of Thomas Jefferson, one of the United States’ earliest envoys to France, Monticello reflects Jefferson’s affection for the people of France, the long-standing relations between our two democracies, and the shared values we hold dear: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” There is no reason to think that this will be a public event.