Samantha Baars



Kathy Yowell Rohm. Courtesy Albemarle County Police

Daycare operator sentenced

A Forest Lakes woman who pleaded guilty to child cruelty in May for neglecting more than a dozen kids at an unlicensed daycare will serve two years in jail. “I would like to publicly apologize to all the parents,” said a tearful Kathy Yowell-Rohm, before a judge pronounced her sentence September 7 in Albemarle Circuit […]

Now we’ll never see more than a rendering of West2nd, the $50 million development of luxury condos and retail space that had been proposed at the current site of a Water Street parking lot since 2014. Rendering Keith Woodard

‘The last straw:’ Woodard pulls the plug on West2nd

Developer Keith Woodard has abandoned his plan to build a $50 million castle of downtown luxury condos and retail space on a city-owned Water Street parking lot. “The project was a tremendous undertaking, and over time, the process of obtaining the  necessary approvals became very difficult and at times adversarial, causing continual delays and uncertainty,” […]

When James Fields allegedly drove his car into the crowd on Fourth Street, he also smashed into a Toyota Camry. Photo by Eze Amos

YouTuber wants access to car attack videos 

In an August 21 hearing in Charlottesville Circuit Court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania took an unusual seat—in the defendant’s chair—with his files resting on a table on the left side of the room, while another man took Platania’s usual seat on the right. William Evans, a Fairfax attorney representing himself, is suing the commonwealth’s attorney […]

On August 11, community members protested police presence at UVA, where one university officer declared an unlawful assembly. It was quickly rescinded. Photo by Eze Amos

Unlawful assembly: Cops call for one, change their mind at UVA

Police called unlawful assemblies last summer after the KKK rally and before the Unite the Right event began. This summer, it appeared Charlottesville had gotten through the August 12 anniversary weekend without the declaring of any unlawful assemblies—but that wasn’t the case. At the August 11 UVA rally—after students had moved their protest to Brooks […]

Former Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas and current Chief RaShall Brackney. Former Virginia State Police Superintendent Steve Flaherty and current Superintendent Gary Settle. Former UVA President Teresa Sullivan and current President Jim Ryan. Former UVA Police Department Chief Michael Gibson and new Chief Tommye Sutton. Former Mayor Mike Signer and current Mayor Nikuyah Walker. Former City Manager Maurice Jones and current Interim City Manager Mike Murphy.

Out and in: A turnover of top local leaders

It was an unprecedented year for the city, but also one in which we saw a major shift among people in positions of power. Some heads rolled, some quietly retired, and the list of local leaders is almost unrecognizable from this time last summer. Charlottesville Police Chief Al Thomas abruptly resigned in December, making way […]

Hundreds of students, faculty, and other supporters gathered at the University of Virginia on August 11, the one-year anniversary of the white supremacist-led tiki-torch rally on Grounds, to support those who were beaten by men in white polos and khakis a year earlier. They also protested the police, and the security parameters they allege that UVA forced on their rally. Photo by Eze Amos

Students rally: A diss to police and a march through the streets

Minutes before their rally was scheduled to begin August 11 in front of the Rotunda, UVA student activists dropped a banner that said, “Last year they came with torches, this year they come with badges,” and instructed hundreds of attendees to move their demonstration a few hundred feet to the left, where cops weren’t already […]

Students planned a new rally location when their original spot in front of the Rotunda had too many security measures for their liking. Photo by Eze Amos

A diss to the police and a miles-long march through the streets

And updated version of this story with additional photos can be found here. Minutes before their rally was scheduled to begin in front of the Rotunda, UVA student activists dropped a banner that said, “Last year they came with torches, this year they come with badges,” and instructed hundreds of attendees to move their demonstration […]

At a university-sponsored event this morning called The Hope That Summons Us, President Jim Ryan had a message for the victims of the white supremacist attack on Grounds exactly one year ago: "I am sorry. We are sorry." Photo courtesy of UVA Office of Communications

Hope and an apology

About 200 people gathered in the Old Cabell Hall auditorium at the University of Virginia on the anniversary of last summer’s August 11 white supremacist tiki-torch march across Grounds, where a small number of students and faculty were encircled and beaten by angry men in white polos and khakis. The ticketed event was called The […]

When one North Downtown resident wanted neighbors to stop crossing her property to access that of the Park Street First Baptist Church, she built a fence—about a foot in front of the church’s fence and access gate. Photo by Skyclad Aerial

Fenced out: Neighbors complain about closed shortcut

In the North Downtown neighborhood, a new fence is causing a fuss. Where some Second Street NE residents have long walked down their dead-end lane to an unlocked gate that led to the backyard of the Park Street First Baptist Church, they’ve recently been faced with an obstruction to the beaten path. It’s a fence—a […]

The Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority declared a drought and imposed mandatory water restrictions when the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, pictured full here, lost millions of gallons of water last fall. Most of that water loss could have been prevented. Photo by Skyclad AERIAL

Leaky-gate, part 2: RWSA responds to cover-up accusations

It was late June when a whistleblower, who recently resigned from the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority to protest an $80-million water pipeline it wants to build between two reservoirs, went before its board of directors to denounce it. Rich Gullick, the authority’s former director of operations, handed over several pages of in-depth analysis on […]

As the local skating community mourns the loss of the Main Street Arena, which closed last spring, a new option for ice athletes is on the horizon. Photo by Jack Looney

Brookhill base: Ice park planned at new subdivision

When an angel investor bought the Main Street Arena for nearly $6 million in March 2017 with the intent to turn it into a technology incubator, folks who frequented the 23-year-old ice park—the only one within an hour’s drive from Charlottesville—began to panic. But now it looks like hockey players, figure skaters and curlers could […]

Ting employees have been installing lightning-fast internet service in Charlottesville since June 2015, but about half of the city is still awaiting service. File photo

Get in line: Ting’s network expansion slower than expected

When the folks at a “lightning-fast” fiber gigabit internet company decided to roll out their service in Charlottesville, they knew it would be popular—but now it’s in such high demand that there are hundreds of city residents waiting for access to its network. Ting has been in town for more than three years, and is […]

Nearly 50 activists went to the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail’s July 12 board meeting to protest its policy to voluntarily report undocumented inmate release dates to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents. Staff photo

‘Crime against humanity:’ Jail urged to stop voluntary ICE reporting

When incarcerated undocumented immigrants are released from the local jail, they exit through the sally port, where they often have an unfortunate encounter. It’s not unusual that a U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent will be there waiting for them. In a July 12 Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail authority board meeting, jail superintendent Martin Kumer said […]

James Fields earlier in the day, before he plowed his car into dozens of people on Fourth Street.
Photo Eze Amos

James Fields pleads not guilty to federal crimes

The man charged with 30 federal hate crimes, including the murder of Heather Heyer by ramming his Dodge Challenger into a crowd of counterprotesters on August 12, gave a clipped introduction to the judge when he announced himself as James Alex Fields Jr. on July 5. Each hate crime charge carries a maximum sentence of […]

By the time this photo was taken in February, the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir was full again. Photo by Skycladap

Leaky-gate: RWSA employee resigns in protest

Remember last fall’s mandatory water restrictions? An employee who recently resigned from the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority says the agency is blaming an alleged drought for the loss of several hundred million gallons of water from the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir, when two leaky gates were the culprit. “The dry weather did not cause […]

In a separate instance in February, Donna Gasapo followed Jason Kessler down Market Street, shouting and with two middle fingers in the air. Staff photo

Inciting words: Kessler gets a win and $5

In a civil suit against an angry activist, Unite the Right rally organizer Jason Kessler has won $5. The man who planned the August 12 event where neo-Nazis and counterprotesters clashed in the streets, leaving three people dead by the end of the day, said his suit was intended to bring “decorum.” He sued Donna […]

The Blackburn Inn, a former lunatic asylum turned prison turned abandoned property turned boutique hotel, officially opened last week. Courtesy Blackburn Inn

New look: Former asylum turned luxury inn

The place once known as the Western State Lunatic Asylum before it became a medium security prison in 1981 and was abandoned in 2002 opened last week as The Blackburn Inn. “This building has such a storied past,” says Paul Cooper, the president and CEO of Retro Hospitality, the firm that manages the inn. Part-time […]

Braxton Puryear is one attorney representing plaintiffs in the case. Staff photo

But their emails! Councilors must turn over docs in monument suit

  In a lawsuit aimed at keeping the statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in Charlottesville, city councilors have been ordered to turn over documents related to conversations of removing them—a decision the council made, initially just to remove Lee, in a 3-2 vote in February 2017. Charlottesville Circuit Court […]

Community activist Star Peterson, a victim of the August 12 car attack, was arrested when she parked her wheelchair in the middle of Market Street, faced traffic and threw two middle fingers into the air. Photo by Eze Amos

Activists stop traffic, arrested in late night protest

Last night, Charlottesville police arrested about eight community activists who were protesting yesterday’s conviction of Corey Long, the man they say defended the community on August 12 when law enforcement failed to do so. A couple dozen activists gathered in Justice Park around 9:30pm, and with signs and banners in tow, began marching around the […]