Samantha Baars

Samantha Baars


Heather Hill. Photo: Eze Amos

Getting personal with Heather Hill

City Council candidate Age: 39 Resident since: 2003 (with two years away after getting her MBA) She describes herself as a wife and mother of three, a neighbor, an engaged community leader, an engineer, a business person and, now, a candidate for Charlottesville’s governing body. With her navy and lime-green Nikes laced up, Heather Hill […]

Hundreds of light bulbs spelled out "No Pipeline" on this sign that made its Nelson County debut February 22.

Feds hear pipeline comment behind closed doors

About 160 people attended a February 22 public comment session at Nelson County High School to voice their opinions to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will eventually approve or deny plans for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. If approved, construction on the $5 billion and nearly 600-mile natural gas pipeline could begin by the […]

Lorenzo Dickerson has been making films about local African-Americans for four years. Photo by Eze Amos

Getting personal with Lorenzo Dickerson

Local filmmaker, age 35 Though he only began teaching himself the art of filmmaking four years ago while researching his ancestry, Lorenzo Dickerson’s calling has always been storytelling. “I enjoy bringing awareness to stories that either have been forgotten or that people have never known about,” says Dickerson about his films. “That’s really where my […]

Who gets the biggest slice of the pie? Here’s how Interim County Executive Doug Walker suggests spending nearly $400 million this year.

Brighter budget outlook in the county

When Interim County Executive Doug Walker presented Albemarle County’s proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 to the Board of Supervisors last week, unlike last year, it did not include a bump in the 83.9 cents per $100 real estate tax rate. Revenues are projected to increase $21,866,508, or 5.8 percent, thanks primarily to higher real […]

Illustration: Chris Danger

A kid’s obsession: Should they be encouraged?

If you can’t put your daughter to bed without her favorite dolly, or if your son won’t go anywhere without his toy train, you’re not alone—this could be classified as an extremely intense interest, which research finds that one third of children develop in their early stages. “This was one of my favorite pieces of […]

As an example of fake news, Wyatt Andrews referenced the Trump administration’s claim that President Donald Trump’s inauguration was the largest attended swearing-in ceremony in history. The photo on the left shows the National Mall during Trump’s inauguration at 12:01pm on January 20, 2017, compared with President Barack Obama’s inauguration on January 20, 2009, between 12:07pm and 12:26pm. Staff/Reuters via Zuma Press

For fake’s sake: Assault on real news continues

“What I’m about to show you is keeping me up at night,” said former CBS correspondent and current UVA professor Wyatt Andrews at a February 9 seminar addressing the relationship between President Donald Trump, the media and “fake news.” And what he said might surprise you. At 1.2 million, the Wall Street Journal has the […]

Developer Kyle Redinger had hoped to make Adelaide a high-density subdivision with some affordable housing units. Since that plan was shot down, he says he’ll build the 35 high-end homes that have already been approved.

No way, Crozet: High-density subdivision rezoning denied

At its February 1 meeting, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors denied a rezoning request for Adelaide, a proposed 80-unit housing development in Crozet. The project is currently zoned for one single home per acre, and developer Kyle Redinger sought a zoning change to six units per acre, which would provide more density in the […]

Ahmad Alboni, Ola Mansour and their three children came to Charlottesville through the International Rescue Committee last summer. After fleeing from Syria, they lived as refugees in Jordan. Family members who were supposed to join them in America this week have been affected by President Trump’s travel ban.
Photo by Eze Amos

‘Capital of the resistance’ supports its immigrants

Since 1998, the International Rescue Committee has welcomed nearly 4,000 refugees to Charlottesville from more than 32 countries. Ola Mansour is one of them. “Charlottesville is safe,” says Mansour, who in June 2016 relocated to Charlottesville from Jordan with her husband and three children. Three years prior, they had fled to the Middle Eastern country […]

Pam Rivera photographed the pig July 3 when it was found wandering around her neighborhood near Proffit Road.

Courtesy Pam Rivera

Judge sides with defendants’ motion in pig stealing case

The man and woman charged with stealing, maiming and torturing a pig to death were in Albemarle County Circuit Court for a motions hearing February 7. But first, the backstory. Last July, two Albemarle County Police officers picked up a pig in the Proffit Road area and took it to the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA. The […]

Ashley Williams, the general manager and marketing director at Water Street restaurant, says the partial closing of the road with the same name has been bad for business. Rammelkamp Foto

Water Street construction closure affects businesses

Anyone attempting to drive east down Water Street over the past couple weeks has noticed a large traffic sign intercepting her mission—and some business owners in that area aren’t happy about it. Construction of a seven-unit mixed-use building at 550 E. Water St. (called 550 Water Street) will cause intermittent lane closure for the next […]

Frayser White IV. Photo courtesy of the Albemarle County Police Department

Frayser White appears for motions hearing

The man involved in Albemarle County’s first fatal traffic crash of 2016 appeared in Albemarle County Circuit Court on January 30 where a judge denied two motions that would amend his house arrest and suppress evidence collected from his vehicle after the wreck. On March 15, 2016, Frayser White IV crossed double solid yellow lines […]

Amelia Tat

Ex-teacher pleads guilty to sex with underage student

A former Jack Jouett Middle School teacher pleaded guilty to having sex with someone under the age of consent—a previous student that she admitted to having feelings for at that time, according to the prosecutor. Amelia Tat, accompanied by local defense attorney Andre Hakes, entered a plea agreement, which said she was guilty on two […]

Kailey Leinz, a fourth-year and WUVA president, says students are excited about the radio station’s switch to digital news coverage. Photo by Amy Jackson

WUVA sale: Video killed the radio station

Folks at WUVA, the university’s student-owned radio station in operation for 70 years, announced January 17 that they were selling their FM radio license to a major radio group in town to endow their online video and news enterprise. Purchased by Saga Communications for $1.65 million, the license and frequency will be part of the […]

Hours before the scheduled execution of Ricky Gray, Virginia Rovnyak, right, says he deserves mercy. Staff photo

Group protests Ricky Gray execution

Just hours before Ricky Gray’s scheduled execution for the murders of a Richmond couple and their two young daughters, a group of locals opposing the death penalty formed in front of Charlottesville Circuit Court. “Killing is not a solution. It’s never a solution,” says Virginia Rovnyak. “Mr. Gray, in particular, deserves some mercy in his […]

Though a number of residents want to preserve the historic character of their neighborhood, Woolen Mills is already home to many modern houses. Matteus Frankovich / Skyclad AP

Historic conservation at center of controversy

A proposed historic conservation district in Woolen Mills has the neighborhood divided. While some residents are pushing for a neighborhood association-requested ordinance that would promise protection of their historic assets, others say the drafted rules concerning additional construction in the area—for both big and small projects—would require them to jump through too many hoops. The […]

Convicted murderer George Huguely is escorted into the Charlottesville Circuit Court to receive his final sentence. Photo: John Robinson

Huguely’s wrongful death trial postponed

Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Rick Moore has granted a motion to continue the trial date in the $30 million civil suit against former UVA student George Huguely for the wrongful death of his on- and off-again girlfriend, Yeardley Love, whom he was convicted of murdering in February 2012. The nearly three-week trial is now set […]

The new owner of The Shops at Stonefield, O’Connor Capital Partners, has developed shopping centers throughout the country, but Stonefield, its 19th retail property, is its first in Virginia. Staff photo

Talking shop: Filling Stonefield vacancies is a priority

It was difficult to snag a parking space on a recent middle-of-the-day trip to The Shops at Stonefield—the upscale shopping center that houses Trader Joe’s and Regal Cinema and was recently acquired by a national development firm. Though the place was crowded with shoppers before New Year’s Eve, the new owners say filling the center’s […]

After a legal battle with Barefoot wine-maker Gallo, Barefoot Bucha has rebranded to Blue Ridge Bucha. Photo by John Robinson

Ending the bucha battle: Local company settles for new name

In April, Gallo—the $4 billion corporation responsible for making Barefoot Wine—sued local mom-and-pop Barefoot Bucha purveyors Kate and Ethan Zuckerman for infringing on its name and logo’s trademark. The kombucha makers settled the suit in August by agreeing to change their name, and now, they are announcing the new moniker customers will see on their […]

UVA has owned and operated a $4 million Cessna Citation Bravo since 2004. Photo courtesy of FlightAware

Jetsetters: UVA admin is flying high

Another churn of the rumor mill brought forth the claim that the University of Virginia had recently purchased a shiny new aircraft—one much bigger and better than its old one. What old one, you ask? So did we. While the truth-o-meter (and UVA spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn) has confirmed there is no new jet hauling […]

Since it was founded in 1842, only women have lived on campus at Mary Baldwin University. That changes next year. Photo: Norm Shafer

Co-ed controversy: Women’s college operating at a loss

Mary Baldwin University, a historic women’s college in Staunton, will start accepting applications to the University College Program, the school’s first residential program to accept men, its president announced November 28. While some alumnae have scorned the decision, one man who’s already enrolled in a graduate program at the school supports the administration’s decision. “I’m […]

Crescent Halls residents held a protest in front of their Monticello Avenue apartment complex, saying conditions in the buildings are unfit for living. Photo: Eze Amos

Bugs, leaks, condoms: The list goes on at Crescent Halls

In the heat of last summer, tensions boiled at a City Council meeting heavily attended by Crescent Halls residents who had been experiencing a major air conditioner failure, leading Mayor Mike Signer to temporarily suspend the meeting. Residents brought new concerns to a December 20 protest outside the Monticello Avenue apartment complex. “I’ve seen roaches […]

The plaque currently memorializing Vinegar Hill is often hard to spot, but at least it’s no longer flanked by a big black planter and a trash can bolted to the ground. Staff photo

A Vinegar Hill memorial you can actually see

A forthcoming addition to the Downtown Mall will commemorate Vinegar Hill, the historically African-American neighborhood that saw displacement of 158 families when city residents voted to develop the land in the 1960s. Officially called Vinegar Hill Park, this chunk of real estate between the Omni hotel and Main Street Arena will house $15,000 worth of interpretive […]

Albemarle County officials want to move their courts out of Court Square. Staff photo

County needs professional help moving courts

“We don’t have the capacity to do any of this without some help,” County Executive Tom Foley said at a December 14 Board of Supervisors work session in which he recommended Albemarle County staff hire an adviser for development, financial analysis, valuation and other aspects of moving the circuit and general district courts out of […]

If approved, hikers and bikers will have access to 13 miles of trails at Ragged Mountain Natural Area. City of Charlottesville

UPDATED: Biking greenlit at Ragged Mountain

After a year of debate, and a plea last week from the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors to delay a decision, the Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 December 19 to allow mountain biking and trail running at Ragged Mountain Natural Area. “We are looking forward to working collaboratively with the city parks staff and all […]