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Fire at the Adult Learning Center puts pressure on Councilman Harris

Adult Learning Center

Councilman Raymond Harris is a well known fixture of the city of Charlottesville. A successful entrepreneur, he has since given time to the city in the form of civil service and lavish philanthropy. But scrutiny has fallen on him after what was at first viewed as a seemingly simple fire.

First responders were called to the facility on Second Street, a former government facility taken over by the Harris Charitable Fund Program after cuts in funding by the city threatened closure. The Adult Learning Center provides area adults with the educational opportunities needed to be successful workers, parents and community members through classes in Adult Basic Education, English for Speakers of Other Languages, GED Preparation, and Family Literacy. Through these services, and a very active food bank, the center is a major lynchpin in the support of the underclass of the city. A garbage unit was badly burned in a fire, but it was contained before it could threaten the facility.

Derek Ingrey, a Charlottesville detective, decided to investigate on an anonymous tip, and found human remains in what was left, mere hours before it was to be disposed of. These remains have not been identified, but the fact that the evidence was nearly swept under the rug has brought some unwanted scrutiny on the Councilman, mere days before the election.

Many are calling for him to come forth and explain the event surrounding the disposal of the evidence, but his support in the community has rallied around him thus far.

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