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Hawes Spencer

Articles by Hawes Spencer

When America Needed Them, 'The Waltons' Were There

This past weekend, scores of people flocked to the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia to mark the 45th anniversary of the television series ‘The Waltons’. The show chronicled a struggling family living through the Great Depression. The reunion comes one year after the death of the show’s creator but the message of the series lives on.

FX: [Waltons theme]

The Waltons were a big family: two parents, two grandparents, and seven children, all living in the same house. The show was told through the eyes of the eldest son, John Boy.

'Waltons' Reunion to Celebrate Hamner in His Hometown

Forty-five years after they debuted on CBS, original members of the cast of The Waltons will converge this weekend at the Nelson County hamlet that the show's creator called home.

The late Earl Hamner based "The Waltons" on his own family in the town of Schuyler during the Great Depression; and his voice bookended each episode: "It was a poor time; but in it, we were richer than we knew."

Reunion organizer Ray Castro said, "In those days, families worked out their problems together.

Maryland Ruling Paves Way for 2018 Huguely Civil Trial

The 2010 killing of University of Virginia student Yeardley Love will return to a Charlottesville courtroom next year as a civil case, following an insurance ruling Monday (3/20).

The litigants had been waiting for this - a ruling by a Maryland judge on whether homeowner’s insurance could cover this fatal, alcohol-fueled attack.

Lawsuit Filed to Block Move of Charlottesville Confederate Statue

A group of citizens filed a lawsuit on Monday (3/20) asking a court to block the City of Charlottesville’s planned move of a statue of General Robert E. Lee. Charles Weber, one of 13 plaintiffs, says, “We’re focusing on the law right now.”

Bob Fenwick, the City Councilor who cast the deciding vote last month to move the statue, recently explained why the stakes are so high. “If somebody came into our town tomorrow and said I have a million dollars and said I will commission a statue of Robert E. Lee, it wouldn’t go anywhere. We couldn’t do it,” said Fenwick.

Berry Leaves Behind Iconic Music--And Photography

Chuck Berry, the pioneering Rock 'n' Roller who died Saturday (3/18) at the age of 90, brought joy to millions, and an early concert image still reverberates in Charlottesville.

Berry’s songs were good enough for the Beatles to cover and the Beach Boys to steal. But one man captured something from Berry 52 years ago--and he's keeping it. “They got to call me flash,” says Edwin Roseberry. “And I’m still known as Flash.”

Northam, Perriello Slam Gillespie Tax Plan, Get Disrupted

At a Saturday night (3/18) appearance in Charlottesville, Democratic gubernatorial candidates Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello slammed the planned tax cut by Republican front-runner Ed Gillespie.

Perriello on Gillespie's plan: “He’s basically repeating the same Bush tax cuts that destroyed our economy--a terrible deal for the American middle class working class.”

And Northam says, “It doesn’t do anything for the working class and the poor.”

Khan Breaks Silence on Canada Travel Cancellation

Gold Star father Khizr Khan has finally broken his silence on why he wouldn't travel to Canada earlier this month-- and why he won't travel abroad.

"Have you even read the United States Constitution?"

His voice echoed around the word. But so did his silence after cancelling the Canada trip. Finally, in a Friday afternoon email to this reporter, Khan explains: "I did not want to go through the hassle of uncertain rules and capricious implementation."

Khan also expressed his concern about Muslim profiling with the local bar association.

GOP's Gillespie to Focus Campaign on Tax Cut

Republican gubernatorial front-runner Ed Gillespie unveiled on Thursday (3/16) what he called the centerpiece of his campaign: a tax cut.

Not since Jim Gilmore, who got the Governor’s Mansion by vowing to kill the car tax, has a candidate unveiled such bold strokes: a 10% chop in the state income tax and elimination of local levies on business machines and revenue.

University of Mary Washington political scientist Stephen Farnsworth says, “Show me the money.”

Disruption Accompanies Trump's Victory in the News Cycle

When one president accuses another, disruption may follow, says the director the Miller Center at the University of Virginia, who recently wrote about Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon.

LBJ audio: “I want to talk to you as a friend...” Oval Office tapes show President Johnson knew that Candidate Nixon interfered in Vietnam peace talks--but LBJ kept silent.

“He chose to let the peaceful transfer of power go forward rather than getting into a messy fight with his successor,” said Miller Center Director, Bill Antholis. He added, “President Trump has chosen a different path.”

Racial Concerns Persist as Petition Against Councilor Fails

The only African-American on the Charlottesville City Council, Wes Bellamy, survived a recall petition today.

Offensive Tweets cost him his seat on the state Board of Education and his teaching job; but he'll stay on City Council, as a judge dismissed the recall petition for lacking enough signatures-- and enough substance.

"Wes Bellamy is not perfect. But he's out there working every day to make this city a better place."

That's his lawyer, Pam Starsia, who minces no words about the petition.