Samantha Baars



After being pepper sprayed, spat on, and called racial slurs, a detective testified that Donald Blakney admitted to taking his anger out on a man he associated with the white supremacists and neo-Nazis in town on August 12.

Blakney’s August 12 charge moves forward

Charlottesville man Donald Blakney, who is accused of maliciously wounding an Arkansas resident on August 12, had his charge certified to the grand jury in Charlottesville General District Court on March 8. Eric Mattson, who testified he’s a member of a Constitutionalist group called the Highwaymen, said he traveled 16 hours to the Unite the […]

Ronna Gary, the alleged victim of two counts of forcible sodomy, says she's devastated that she lost her case on March 6. She says she understands why victims don't come forward. Photo by Eze Amos

He said, she said: Ex-cop acquitted of sexual assault

  It was his word versus hers, and in a two-day trial, a jury believed him. In the case where ex-Charlottesville Police Department officer Christopher Seymore was charged with forcibly sodomizing Ronna Gary—twice—in her Shamrock Road home, a jury deliberated four-and-a-half hours and found him not guilty on both counts. Gary claimed that two November […]

Apex Clean Energy will anchor the seven-story, 130,000-square-foot building slated for construction atop ACAC’s gravel parking lot a couple blocks off the Downtown Mall.
Courtesy william mcdonough + partners

Vertical horizon: Apex helps Charlottesville ‘grow up’

Members of a local upscale fitness club will soon be looking for a place to park. Apex Clean Energy—a company devoted to developing, constructing and operating wind and solar power facilities—announced plans March 1 to build a new headquarters on Garrett Street to house its 170 local employees who are currently spread out among three […]

Photo: Jackson Smith

Locally made 3-D, biometric shoes disrupting the industry

When Dr. Casey Kerrigan, who was working for one of the top three shoe manufacturing companies in the world, realized her employer wouldn’t be able to develop the biomechanically engineered shoe that she knew she needed to make, she quit her job and did it herself. “I had to figure out how to do it […]

The biggest slice of budget pie goes to the school division.

County budget basics: How to spend $430 million

Albemarle County Executive Jeff Richardson, who took the job November 6, went before the Board of Supervisors on February 16 to propose his first budget, which is nearly 8 percent higher than the one for the current year. He’s recommending $428,500,374 for fiscal year 2019, a $13.5 million increase. Per usual, the biggest slice of […]

On August 29, Mason Pickett was once again spotted writing "Bellamy is a jackass" on the Downtown Mall's Freedom of Speech Wall. File photo

Clean slate: Mason Pickett cleared of two assault charges

  “Wes is a jackass” became a familiar slogan to those living in Charlottesville last summer, as it was scrawled on a giant cardboard sign carried by local retiree Mason Pickett, and its derivative, “Bellamy is a jackass,” was often chalked on the Downtown Mall’s Freedom of Speech Wall as well as several sidewalks. It’s […]

The $2 million skate park will feature three main “bowls,” including a butterfly bowl and a flow bowl, a half pipe, a pump bump, a sculptural brick bank and several grinding ledges. Gnarly, bro.

Daily grind: Construction on city’s $2 million skate park ramps up

There aren’t many places to skateboard in Charlottesville. The city closed its skate park on McIntire Road during construction of the U.S. 250 Bypass and John Warner Parkway interchange in 2012 and moved it to McIntire Park. And last month, it closed the second location, too. Nineteen-year-old Piedmont Virginia Community College student David Juers says […]

When Jason Kessler leaves a courtroom, he's often greeted the same way. Staff photo

Four more down: Kessler-related hearings reach a verdict

When Jason Kessler leaves a courthouse in Charlottesville, he’s usually greeted the same way, and that’s by an angry mob. A group of dozens of anti-racists followed him in a large circle around Market Street until he receded to the police department next to the general district court. He exited only when a maroon truck […]

Virginia Military Institute bested UVA 19-0 in an October 1912 game at Lambeth Field during the second season after the NCAA adopted modern football rules.  PHOTO: Rufus Holsinger/Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library

Game changer: Dr. William Lambeth taught us to play by the rules

Ahead of Super Bowl LII, we’re looking back at Charlottesville’s connection to modern football. And in case you haven’t heard—it’s pretty monumental. Named after Dr. William Lambeth, who’s known widely as the University of Virginia’s “father of athletics,” Lambeth Field was constructed at the college in 1901 as a place to play football, baseball and […]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline could run through these Nelson County mountains. Photo: Jack Looney

All eyes on the pipeline

Hundreds of anti-Atlantic Coast Pipeline activists have emerged to monitor construction on the $6 billion gas fracking project. A coalition of more than 50 anti-pipeline groups called the Allegheny-Blue Ridge Alliance launched the Pipeline Compliance Surveillance Initiative last week to ensure strict application of environmental laws and regulations for the ACP, which they say will […]

Jordan Romeo. Courtesy of the Charlottesville Police Department

Guilty plea, dropped charges for another KKK rally protester

A woman arrested on three charges, including felony assault of a law enforcement officer at the July 8 KKK rally, has pleaded guilty to one misdemeanor. Jordan Romeo was protesting the Loyal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan in Justice Park when she allegedly assaulted a city cop and City Council critic John Heyden. […]

Mark Hormuz Dean. Courtesy county police

Doctor’s orders: Physician makes bond, put on house arrest

  The Pantops-area doctor arrested last Friday on five felonies related to allegedly raping and sexually assaulting his patients will be released from jail on a $50,000 bond. A mass of friends and family showed in support of Mark Hormuz Dean, the Albemarle Pain Management Associates Clinic physician, and sat shoulder to shoulder in the […]

Kathy Yowell Rohm. Courtesy Albemarle County Police

Dirty diapers: Daycare provider will go to grand jury

A local daycare operator who was arrested last month on a felony charge of cruelty and injuries to children after 16 youngsters were found in her Forest Lakes home will go before the grand jury in February. A Juvenile and Domestic Relations court judge ruled January 8 that there was enough probable cause to certify […]

KKK imperial wizard Richard Wilson Preston is charged with firing a gun August 12.
ACLU video

Split decision: Shooter gets bond, alleged assailant doesn’t

  Two ponytailed Unite the Right participants represented by the same Blairs, Virginia-based lawyer had different fates in their January 4 bond hearings in Charlottesville Circuit Court. Judge Humes Franklin granted 52-year-old Baltimore resident Richard Preston, an imperial wizard of the Confederate White Knights of the KKK who was filmed firing a gun during the […]

Karen Dougald, president of the University Circle Neighborhood Association, says residents were surprised to learn about UVA’s plans to build a softball stadium at Lambeth Field, though the Board of Visitors was scheduled to vote on it at an upcoming meeting. The board deferred its decision to gather more input from the community. Photo by Eze Amos

Lamenting Lambeth: UVA proposes sports complex in its place

On December 7, the UVA Board of Visitors deferred a decision on the construction of a softball stadium at the university’s Lambeth Field—and those living nearby are thanking their lucky stars. Lambeth Field, also known as the Colonnades, opened in the early 1900s as a stadium for varsity football, baseball and track. Now, it’s used […]

Heather Heyer's coworker and mentor Alfred Wilson, mother Susan Bro, and Mayor Mike Signer spoke at the dedication of Heather Heyer Way on Fourth Street. Photo by Eze Amos

The Heather Heyer way

On the morning of December 20, around 50 people drew to the scene of the August 12 vehicular attack that killed Heather Heyer and injured dozens more, where dead flowers still line the street and brick walls are still chalked with messages that mourn the 32 year old and disavow the hate that came to […]

Ronna Gary, the alleged victim of two counts of forcible sodomy, says she's devastated that she lost her case on March 6. She says she understands why victims don't come forward. Photo by Eze Amos

“Me too:” Sexual assault victim speaks out

Sitting on a black ottoman in her living room, the same room where she says an on-duty Charlottesville police officer sexually assaulted her in November 2016, Ronna Gary draws invisible lines with her pointer finger to illustrate the ways she’s rearranged the space since the cop allegedly pressured her to her knees, unzipped his pants […]