Samantha Baars

Samantha Baars


Thanks to the sun, Jarrod Markley’s March electricity bill—which tallies energy used to power his four-person household and charge his electric car—was only $10. Photo by Eze Amos

Sunny skies ahead: Solar investments are paying off

Burnett Commons homeowner Jarrod Markley’s March electricity bill —which tallies energy used in a four-person household and to charge his electric car—was only $10. He has the sun to thank for that low cost. The $18,000 grid of solar panels installed on his roof last winter supplies 94 percent of his annual electricity use, he […]

Drainage from a mountain named Big Ridge will affect two of the state’s remaining native brook trout streams, Townsend Draft and Erwin Draft. Photo courtesy of Rick Webb

Mountaintop removal: Groups argue its definition

In an April 27 telepresser, a number of environmental groups discussed Dominion’s alleged plans to decapitate 38 miles of ridgelines in Virginia and West Virginia to make way for the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline. About 5.6 of those miles are atop Roberts Mountain in Nelson County. Moderated by the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, spokespeople from […]

On the last day of May, Blue Moon Diner will close until early 2018. While a four-story mixed-use apartment complex is under construction behind and adjacent to Blue Moon this summer, the diner will undergo a few renovations itself. Rendering courtesy of Neighborhood Development Services

Feeling blue: Local diner set for closure

  On a recent Sunday morning, a crowd of Blue Moon Diner patrons could be seen hovering outside the side door of the self-proclaimed “best little breakfast, sandwich, burger, dinner, live music, arm wrestling, vinyl record-playing, family-friendly neighborhood bar and activist spot” with menus in hand. Lovers of the eatery, a Charlottesville institution, are shoveling […]

Albemarle County has an ordinance that prohibits bike riding at Ragged Mountain, but the natural area is located in Charlottesville where City Councilors have voted to allow it. Staff photo

Biking battle continues: Supes give the okay on studying Hedgerow

Albemarle Board of Supervisors Chair Diantha McKeel said in February that an accelerated opening of Hedgerow Park could be an alternative to allowing biking at Ragged Mountain Natural Area, a controversial city-owned and county-located property on which both governing bodies are at odds about whether cycling should be permitted. In an April 12 work session, […]

Neuroscientist Kelly Barford helped organize the April 22 local March for Science, starting at IX Art Park. On April 12 members of Cville Comm-UNI-ty met at Three Notch’d Brewing Company for a fundraiser and to make signs for the march. Photo by Eze Amos

‘Facts not quacks:’ Locals gear up to march for science

The University of Virginia received $143 million in biomedical research funding from the National Institutes of Health in 2016. With President Donald Trump’s recent announcement that he plans to cut $5.8 billion from the NIH’s budget, local neuroscientist Kelly Barford says it’s time to march. As a member of Cville Comm-UNI-ty, a group of UVA […]

One of five DMV mobile offices. Courtesy of the Department of Motor Vehicles

Easy street: DMV’s mobile unit comes to town

Most people recoil at the thought of going to the DMV, so when a Department of Motor Vehicles van pulled up to Reid Super-Save Market last Thursday morning, a line of people were already waiting to cash in on the convenience of a mobile office. The DMV’s first office on wheels used a telephone modem […]

Construction on the Center at Belvedere is scheduled to start next year. Courtesy of Peter Thompson

Old news: $2 million for Senior Center in question

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has set aside $2 million in its capital improvement budget for the Center at Belvedere, a new senior center that is set for construction in the Belvedere neighborhood next year. And one county resident isn’t happy about the partnership. “I think it is wrong for government officials to spend […]

Greg Buppert, along with other attorneys at the Southern Environmental Law 
Center, questions the public necessity for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Amy Jackson

Legal group challenges need for Dominion’s pipeline

A local legal group will file a last-minute opinion that there isn’t enough market demand for a $6 billion pipeline. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which will eventually approve or deny plans for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, is accepting comments for its draft environmental impact statement until April 6. “I think the bottom line here is […]

Whitney French, 33, is remembered by family and friends for the way she touched the lives of everyone she met and her expert work at WillowTree. Courtesy of Brent and Eileen French

Domestic violence victim Whitney French touched the lives of many

On February 26, Whitney French, 33, was the victim of a domestic-related homicide at the hands of her husband, Rafal Kalemba, who killed himself after murdering her in their Monticello Road home. Whitney’s parents and friends remember her as a strong, powerful woman, and in looking back on her life, her parents say there were […]

The 1916 building on the Downtown Mall that housed Bank of America until February will be home to Citizen & Farmers Bank, among other tenants. Staff photo

When one bank closes, another one opens

Before Bank of America closed the doors of its 1916 building on the Downtown Mall in February, we reported that a steakhouse and at least one other bank would take its place. Loud construction noises coming from the spot last week caused us to check on its status. Citizen & Farmers Bank will occupy an […]

A judge ruled last week that Chartis Property Casualty Company does not have to cover convicted murderer George Huguely in a wrongful death lawsuit against him. Huguely’s mother, Marta Murphy (above), and stepfather are insured for $6 million with that company.  Staff photo

Split decision: Huguely insurance battle resolved

Last week a federal judge in Maryland ruled that Chartis Property Casualty Company does not have to cover convicted murderer George Huguely in a wrongful death lawsuit against him in Charlottesville. His mother and stepfather, Marta and Andrew Murphy, are insured for $6 million with that company. In 2010, the UVA lacrosse player had a […]

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Tom Perriello, who opposes the pipeline, was at the fundraiser where protesters temporarily took the stage.  Photo by Jen Fariello

Pasta supper surprise: Protest interrupts Dem dinner party

Gubernatorial candidates Ralph Northam and Tom Perriello and three lieutenant governor hopefuls were in town over the weekend for the Charlottesville Democratic Party’s 17th annual pasta supper and auction. New on this year’s menu was an Atlantic Coast Pipeline protest in which seven sign-carrying UVA students took the stage to demand that the candidates oppose […]

Rachel Thielmann is an advocate for allowing mountain biking at Ragged Mountain, and she says her whole family would benefit. Photo by Eze Amos

Is Hedgerow a no-go? County pushes for biking park that bikers don’t want

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors has made it clear that, though Charlottesville’s City Council has voted to allow mountain biking at Ragged Mountain Natural Area—a city-owned park located in the county—they don’t like it one bit because county regulations prohibit activities like biking that could pollute the reservoir. As an alternative, the supes are […]

Tim Henley’s peach crop at Henley’s Orchard was already threatened before the latest cold blast and snow.
Rammelkamp Foto

Bummer crop: Warm temperatures worry farmers

Last month was the warmest February on record with an average temperature of 47.7 degrees, based on numbers from the McCormick Observatory dating back to the 19th century. While many are happy to ditch their winter coats early, a nice day this early in the season is a nightmare for some farmers. “It’s really going […]

City Manager Maurice Jones presented his proposed budget for fiscal year 2018 to City Council on March 6. Photo by Eze Amos

City budget up 6%: Affordable housing, parking are priorities

City Manager Maurice Jones presented his $170 million draft budget for fiscal year 2017-2018 at the March 6 City Council meeting, citing the city’s significant growth as a main reason for the 6 percent increase over the current adopted budget. “City Council and staff have identified two critical areas that must be addressed in order […]

Claire Kaplan has continued facilitating bystander intervention trainings in town following her first on January 21, at IX Art Park. Photo by Eze Amos

Hate violence on the rise, bystander intervention training in demand

When Claire Kaplan offered to facilitate a bystander intervention training before a local January 21 rally to support the Women’s March on Washington, the response was so huge that she had to turn people away. She promised to coordinate additional trainings in the future, and she’s been busy doing just that. “Hate violence, and violence […]

Main Street Arena has sold for $5.7 million, but ice skating fans still have time to lace up their skates. Staff photo

SOLD: Ice rink goes for $5.7 million

Taliaferro Junction, LLC and Jaffray Woodriff announced their purchase of Main Street Arena on March 2, but it’s not quite time to say so long to skating—the new owners reached an agreement with the seller that will allow all ice skating programs to operate undisturbed this spring and through its final season this fall. Construction […]

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 […]