More Indictments Likely In Young CaseCarytown Merchant Declares War on Vacant EyesoreSome Don't Dig State Archeology ReportSchool's Out, Auto Theft Is InHenrico Eyes Mountain Road Gas StationRichmond Red Cross Out For Blood?Recycling Collection Days ChangingMore Indictments Likely In Young Case
The fallout from the Leonidas Young scandal may soon claim two more associates of the imprisoned former city mayor and councilman.
It is very likely that James Miller, the youth minister of Fourth Baptist Church, where Young was pastor, and Linwood Jacobs, a recently retired J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College dean, will soon face indictments for perjury.
"When you lie down with dogs, you come up with fleas, and because of his associations with the former mayor, it seems he is going to come under indictment by the federal grand jury, and it's an unfortunate situation that he has now become a victim here," says Miller's attorney, Dannie R. Sutton Jr.
Miller has rejected a plea-bargain offer, says Sutton, who anticipates his client will be indicted in the July federal grand jury. "Mr. Miller is looking forward to his day in court," Sutton says. "The government will have to concede that he was not involved, that he was unaware and just a pawn in Leonidas Young's chess game when it comes to the fraud and deception [Young] used to embezzle money not only from his congregation but the city."
James Sheffield, an attorney who has worked for Jacobs, confirms that Jacobs has been in talks with federal prosecutors. Jacobs' current attorney, Kevin Schork, says Jacobs "won't be making any comments on the criminal charges that are imminent against him."
Neither man's lawyer would offer specifics about the possible perjury complaints, but Sutton says the complaints stem from remarks made before the grand jury that investigated fraud, racketeering and money-laundering charges against Young last year.
Miller and Jacobs were both mentioned prominently in the September 1998 indictment that resulted in Young's guilty plea on four felony counts. (Young is now serving a two-year sentence in a federal prison in South Carolina.)
According to the indictment, Young hatched plots for Miller and Jacobs to receive thousands of dollars for phony consultant work for corporations that wanted to do business with the city. Neither man did any work as a consultant, but Miller received $8,000 and Jacobs received $17,500.
Miller was an unpaid intern at Young's church at the time, and, according to the indictment, Jacobs was a long-time friend of Young's and the husband of Young's campaign manager, Carolyn Jacobs, with whom Young had been having a love affair. Richard FosterCarytown Merchant Declares War on Vacant Eyesore
Shirley Moore, owner of Bangles and Beads in Carytown, thinks the building next to her business is like a rotting tooth it needs to be cleaned or pulled, because it's causing too much pain.
Particleboard and an overgrown holly bush cover most of the vacant building at 3324 and 3326 W. Cary St. Discarded malt-liquor bottles litter the alley. Moore says the owner refuses to make repairs or even sell the building, even though it's an eyesore that attracts vagrants, drunks and everything else that is bad for business.
So she started a petition and began exploring her legal options with the help of Operation Squalor, a city program designed to eliminate blight and blight-driven crime.
William W. Hirsch, owner of the decayed building and owner of W. Hirsch Oriental Rugs in Carytown, says the dispute is irrelevant, because he has already hired an architect and plans to renovate the property and turn it into a retail store.
Hirsch says he hopes to submit the building permit application within a couple of months. Permits usually are approved 30 to 60 days after submission, he says, and he expects to complete the project four to five months after the permit is approved.
"That's what he's been saying for 10 years," Moore says. She says loopholes in city ordinances allow Hirsch to make minor repairs while leaving the building to decay. "He goes over and puts one nail in the building that [counts as] progress," she says.
Hirsch says a decade of alleged foot-dragging really was a zoning problem. He also says he has the right to use his property however he chooses. "I don't know how others can affect [a person's] enjoyment of their private property," he says.
Hirsch says he's moving as fast as paperwork and bureaucracy allow, and acknowledges that he has some demolition to plan.
It's not fast enough for Moore. "This is really out of character for me," she says, "but I've declared war." Wayne MeltonSome Don't Dig State Archeology Report
A report on the state of Virginia archeology commissioned by the Department of Historic Resources and released on April 23, 1999, was months overdue. But for some local archaeologists, it was hardly worth the wait.
Howard MacCord, 83, is one of those people. MacCord created the state archaeologist position in 1963, and served in the position for 13 years.
MacCord says the 28-page report, compiled by a five-member panel of academics and archeologists selected by DHR Director H. Alexander Wise, doesn't address several major issues. Among them: the loss of significant sites (he says more than 5,000 sites are lost annually), the undefined role of the more than 100 practicing avocational archeologists in the state, and most importantly, the fact that the DHR simply doesn't do much archeology, one of its state-mandated missions.
"Archeology needs to be done. It's simply not being done," MacCord says.
Wise says the lack of archeology reflects a changing philosophy. He says the DHR is reluctant to dig a site, thereby destroying it, unless it is extremely important or in danger. Wise has appointed a staff member to oversee avocational archeology across the state.
Wise says that the report is just a first step, adding that the forces are in place "to say there is public benefit for what's being done, and use that to increase resources and improve the functioning of archeology in Virginia." Mark StrohSchool's Out, Auto Theft Is In
Last week, public schools closed, and the Richmond Police Department is bracing for an annual summertime ritual: a big increase in stolen cars.
Sgt. David Carroll, head of the RPD's Auto Theft Task Force, confirms the early summer spike, and says that last week the task force began changing its hours and patrols to prepare for the increase.
Carroll says that car thefts always increase when school starts ("When you get about 15, 16, you just aren't cool when you ride the bus," Carroll says), and again when schools let out for the summer.
The Auto Theft Task Force was formed last summer in response to a rash of car thefts in the West End, Carroll says. This year, through May, car theft is down 20 percent from the first five months of last year.
While the task force concentrates its efforts in neighborhoods near the schools, Carroll says the public can help. And he's not asking for a lot.
"The number one problem that we're having is people leaving the keys in their cars," Carroll says.
In May, 39 percent of the cars stolen had the keys in them.
"If we could stop that we could probably have it curbed 35, 40 [percent] from a year ago," Carroll says. M.S.Henrico Eyes Mountain Road Gas Station
Thomas Jefferson and Edgar Allan Poe have traipsed down Glen Allen's Mountain Road. Now, if the Henrico County Board of Supervisors and the county's administration follow the suggestion of Supervisor Dick Glover, wayfarers might be stopping there to visit a new museum.
The county is in the middle of a deal to purchase a gas station that dates to around 1930. Located at the southwest corner of the intersection of Mountain and Courtney roads, it is in the vicinity of Meadow Farms, a landmark on the National Historic Register. According to Will Pope, Henrico director of real estate property, the transaction is still in the discussion stage.
Glover has recommended the building be made into a museum honoring Henrico County athletics. "It's just a thought I had," Glover says. "Most of our teams get their awards and their trophies and take it somewhere" without the citizens of the county ever seeing them.
Right now, the gas station is closed. "It's just sitting there deteriorating," Glover says. He has asked the county to look into the historical significance of the gas station, because, as he says, "The Mountain Road corridor is steeped in history from one end to the other."
Glover says he feels the public would support this use of the gas station, "as long as the cost is justified through the preservation of history." However, he adds, "There are other uses that could very well be served by it." Lee WilliamsRichmond Red Cross Out For Blood?
Does Richmond have enough blood?
If the answer is no, the Greater Richmond chapter of the Red Cross may be the ones to collect more.
"For some time, the national Red Cross has been encouraging the Greater Richmond Chapter to start collecting blood," spokesperson Bill Harrison says. "This is the case in communities across the country."
Greater Richmond Red Cross Chief Executive Officer Dr. Heath Rada says that a Red Cross committee has been assessing the community's blood needs, but that no decisions have been made yet. He expects the committee will meet through the summer.
Rada says that the local chapter stopped collecting blood about 20 years ago. Until 1990, local collection was handled by the Red Cross' Tidewater chapter. But in 1990, Virginia Blood Services (VBS), a private nonprofit, beat out the Tidewater Red Cross for several key contracts and took over Richmond's blood collection.
Rada says the Red Cross' exploration of collection options is not a reflection on VBS. "Since I've been here, we've always felt very positive about VBS and what they have to offer our community," Rada says.
Spokesperson Harrison says that the Red Cross will collect blood if a special request is made. Recently, Channel 6 requested the Red Cross to run a blood drive to help victims of killer tornadoes in the Midwest. And the Red Cross holds blood drives for its own employees and volunteers to donate blood.
"We're assessing community need and desire for more Red Cross involvement in blood activities in Richmond," Rada says. "If the need for blood is being significantly undermet, and if are there ways that we can help provide that." M.S.Recycling Collection Days Changing
Beginning July 5th, some collection days for curbside recycling pickup will change and coordinate with trash pickup. Richmond residents will be notified soon by postcard if their recycling collection days are changing.
"The city of Richmond had been trying to arrange it so that recycling and trash would be collected on the same day," says Laura Ecklin, director of public information for the Central Virginia Waste Management Authority (CVWMA). Ecklin says a new collection contract with Tidewater Fibre Corporation will enable the city to do just that, creating what she hopes will be "a more effective collection route."
Ecklin says this process will be done with the least amount of change possible. Trash and recycling days will be coordinated for Richmond City residents, and day changes will only be moved forward in the week.
"We wanted to make sure the change wouldn't drastically affect folks," she says. "And not everyone's day will change."
People will be notified by postcard if their curbside pickup day has changed, and the CVWMA has also taken out ads and purchased radio time to ensure everyone will know about the change. Colleen Long