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Friday, May 26, 2023

The Trevilian Station Battlefield Foundation will be going it alone in the legal battle to stop a statue of Robert E. Lee formerly displayed in Charlottesville’s Market Street Park from being melted down.

Its partner in the legal action, the Ratcliffe Foundation, was eliminated from the case by a judge last week.

The Ratcliffe Foundation appeared before the court in April to address the fact that the Ratcliffe Foundation that exists today is a new legal entity. The motion before the court was to allow the “new” Ratcliffe to substitute for the “original” Ratcliffe. That motion was denied.

The reason there is a ”new” Ratcliffe hoping to enter the case is that the foundation's corporate status with the state expired in 2015. Foundations are required by law to re-submit incorporation paperwork periodically to remain registered. It was an administrative error, Fred Harman, a Tazewell attorney and Ratcliffe board member, testified during the April hearing. But it meant that the group technically did not exist as a legal entity when it sued the city in 2021, the city's lawyers argued.

The next hearing in the case, a status hearing, is scheduled for June 27. No new trial date has been set.

This trial has been delayed multiple times this year. For background on the case and what's at stake, check out this story Erin O'Hare wrote shortly after the suit was filed.

A bronze statue is pictured from below. The face of a horse is pictured along with the torso and face of a man.
Credit: Mike Kropf / Dexter Auction

Judge rules that the Ratcliffe Foundation cannot sue the city over the Robert E. Lee statue

Now, some great news about our May campaign! An anonymous, long-time supporter is offering to match any new contributions this month up to $2,000. Our goal is to reach 100 new or renewing supports before June. We have just 24 to go!

So if you’ve found these emails helpful and have been considering supporting us, now is a great time to give and multiply your impact.

An orange banner with the words: "We're so close! Just 24 new and renewing supporters will help us meet our goal of 100 in May!" and a black cat with a speech bubble, "Click to double your support!"
A screenshot of a Youtube video player with a man in a suit speaking with someone next to him and behind him.

Watch: C’ville Dems host City Council candidate forum Wednesday

I know I keep bringing this up: But Charlottesville's primary Democratic election for City Council candidates next month is very likely going to be where our next councilors are picked. There are no other party candidates in the race at this point, and I'd like everyone interested in this race to make sure to vote!

And if you're undecided, we're preparing some more information about each candidate that will appear in our 2023 Voter Guide soon. (If you have any questions you'd like us to ask the candidates, hit reply to this email and let me know!)

In the meantime, C'ville Dems hosted a candidate forum on Wednesday that you can watch here.

A swimming pool with a lazy river in the foreground and a waterslide in the background. Children captured using motion blur move around the pool.
Credit: Courtesy of City of Charlottesville

Also, good news on the lifeguard front! Charlottesville Parks and Recreation said that after raising the pay for local lifeguards, it was able to hire a full staff. That means pools are expected to be open all summer, without the closures that marred last years' swim season.

This was not the case earlier this month. When we asked the department about this in early May, officials were expecting another summer with limited pool operating hours. We're glad we could share that information with the community!

You can see what the department is now saying in this NBC29 story published this week.

Finally, today, if you're looking for something meaningful to do this long Memorial Day weekend, the Charlottesville Clergy Collective's newsletter is full of local events. CVILLE Weekly also maintains a local event calendar.

I hope you have a wonderful long weekend,

Jessie Higgins, managing editor

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I'm Dexter Auction's managing editor and health and safety reporter. If there’s something you think we should be investigating, please email me at [email protected]! And you can follow all the work we do by subscribing to our free newsletter! Hablo español, y quiero mantener a la comunidad hispanohablante informada. Si tienes preguntas o información que debo saber, por favor, envíame un correo electrónico a [email protected].