Samantha Baars

Samantha Baars


A gas pipeline marker in Stuarts Draft, Virginia. Courtesy of Aaron Ruby

2,200 miles: Interstate natural gas pipelines already here

Locally, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline has amassed intense opposition since Dominion Energy formally announced its project plans in September 2014. What some challengers may not know, however, is that more than 2,000 miles of pipelines have sliced through Virginia for several decades, sparking little to no debate. “I think the fact that most people are […]

In typical cohousing fashion, homes face a pedestrian area and cars are relegated to the neighborhood’s periphery. Courtesy of Peter Lazar

Living room: Community housing makes a comeback in Crozet

Choosing to live in cohousing may be a difficult decision for some, but for Charlottesville residents James and Rebecca Gammon, signing on to be future residents of Emerson Commons in Crozet was a no-brainer. “It makes life easier for everybody,” Rebecca says. She and her husband are currently raising their 21-month-old son, Connor, in their […]

Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy hosted a July 26 black male town hall summit to present a three-tiered plan of action about how African-American males can create change. Photo by Eze Amos

Bellamy calls on local black males

“I’m not a nigger, I’m not a nigga, I’m a king,” Vice-Mayor Wes Bellamy said at a July 26 black male town hall summit he initiated on behalf of the local African-American population. “When I see all of you, I see kings.” Following the homicide of 23-year-old Denzel Morton, a black man who was shot […]

A proposed citywide culling could help manage the deer population. File photo

‘Medieval solution:’ Resistance emerges to plans for potential deer culling

  Calling the potential deer culling in Charlottesville a “Trumpian solution to a practically nonexistent problem,” one city resident says policymakers should consider non-lethal alternatives before condoning a city-sponsored killing. “We all live in Charlottesville because we appreciate the natural world and what it adds to our human life,” Holly Court resident Laura Jones wrote […]

Retired Charlottesville fire chief Charles Werner, a longtime drone hobbyist, became interested in using them for search and rescue purposes after seeing them used to look for missing person Hannah Graham in 2014. Photo: Eze Amos

They’re here: Search and rescue drone registered in the county

Flying drones is no longer just for hobbyists in Albemarle. Earlier this month, the county was gifted a DJI Phantom 3—its first unmanned aircraft system for search and rescue purposes. David King, who donated the drone, is a founder of King Family Vineyards, a longtime pilot and attorney, and a current search and rescue team […]

Lonnie Wood, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority’s interim executive director, says components number four and five on the map are the “main culprits” for the stink. Courtesy of RWSA

Stopping the stink: Last phase of RWSA odor control project kicks off

The smell of sewage has wafted through the east side of Charlottesville for decades, driving out some residents, nauseating the ones who have stayed and even leaching into the surgical suites at Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital, according to complaints by the hospital’s director at a Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority board meeting in 2014. But […]

Gregory Swanson’s lawsuit against UVA’s rector and Board of Visitors in 1950 helped pave the way for Brown v. Board of Education, which eventually declared laws requiring blacks and whites to attend separate schools unconstitutional. Courtesy of Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library/University of Virginia

‘Poetic justice:’ First black UVA student celebrated

In the midst of a national controversy surrounding racial inequality and civil rights, members of the Charlottesville-Albemarle Bar Association unveiled a 150-pound bronze marker July 12 to commemorate the first African-American student ever admitted to the University of Virginia. When Danville native Gregory Hayes Swanson, a 26-year-old practicing lawyer, applied for admission to UVA’s School […]

The biggest chunk of the bond referendum—$15.2 million—will pay for a second-story addition and modernization of Woodbrook Elementary School. Staff photo

Can county officials remain unbiased for referendum vote?

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted 4-2 July 6 to hold a $35 million bond referendum for school improvements in November, and some locals think county officials will not be able to educate the public about the new ballot item without advocating for it. Virginia Code allows local governments to clarify a referendum, but […]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is proposed to cross these Nelson County mountains. Photo: Jack Looney

Closer to home: Could pipeline run through Albemarle?

In May, members of a Wintergreen nonprofit organization submitted four requests to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to reroute the Atlantic Coast Pipeline out of their town. One of their ideas? Run it through Albemarle County, instead. The 600-mile, 42-inch natural gas line is currently proposed to slice through the outskirts of the Wintergreen community […]

Ernest “Bubba” Beasley digs a hole with a hand auger at Turk Mountain Vineyards to test the soil. Photo by Earnest Beasley

Good grapes: Geologist dishes the dirt on local vineyards

There is more to pouring the perfect glass of cabernet franc than one may think—it starts not with the grape, but with the soil in which it grew. One local expert and his team, who are not afraid to get their hands dirty, will soon receive international acclaim for work that revolutionized industry-wide fertilizer recommendations […]

After noise complaints, folks at Allied Concrete Company have agreed to quiet down. File photo

The silence of the beepers

In March, C-VILLE reported on neighbors’ longtime concern about industrial noise coming from Allied Concrete Company—established on the outskirts of a residential neighborhood in 1945. North Downtowners near the concrete company’s Harris Street location complained about not being able to sleep through utility vehicles’ shrill-sounding backup beepers. “We are very sensitive to the fact that […]

A photo taken from a neighbor’s back deck June 11 shows standing water in the construction site’s retention pond. Courtesy of Mary Huey

Mosquito madness? The buzz on construction site infestations

As the Zika virus spreads, a homeowner in a city neighborhood says her last utility bill included a list of tips to reduce mosquito-attracting water on her property. Across the street from her, however, workers at a residential construction site have dug a retention pond that might be filled with just that. “It seems ironic […]

Keswick Vineyards owner Al Schornberg says a one-acre vineyard is only a $20,000 expenditure and compares it to the millions invested in growing grapes at Keswick. He hopes to see stricter restrictions. Photo by Martyn Kyle

War on weddings: Looming legislation troubles local businesses

Some professionals in the wedding business see Albemarle County’s attempts to further regulate events at farm wineries, cideries, breweries and distilleries as a blatant attack on a burgeoning industry—and they’re not sure why. Amid crowd murmurs that the county is working toward finding “a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist,” senior planner Mandy Burbage […]

Robert Tracci 
Photo by Jen Fariello

Protecting the elderly

Elder abuse isn’t always physical, says Albemarle Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Tracci, who describes a case that recently came through his office. An at-home care provider hired an employee who stole more than $20,000 worth of valuables from an elderly client. The employee sold the family heirlooms to a pawn shop and melted some down for […]

After turning himself in for the violation, a representative from the Albemarle Charlottesville Regional Jail says he is not currently incarcerated. Mugshot courtesy of the Charlottesville Police Department

Local social media celebrity arrested again

Bryan Silva, the Vine and Facebook star notorious for broadcasting his January SWAT standoff on Jefferson Park Avenue to thousands of followers, has been arrested on a capias advising that he failed to comply with the Offender Aid and Restoration program. Around 1pm on June 14, Charlottesville police spokesperson Steve Upman says Silva turned himself […]

The Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials and Public Spaces will meet for their first session June 16. Rammelkamp Foto

Blue Ribbon commissioners identified

Nine members appointed to serve on Mayor Mike Signer’s Blue Ribbon Commission—created to make a recommendation to City Council on how to treat race, memorials and public spaces after a major controversy regarding the General Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park—now have about half a year and $10,000 to make it happen. “I think […]

Richard Shannon says 96 fewer worker injuries at the UVA Medical Center is priceless. Photo by Ryan Jones

‘Lean thinking’ saves UVA hospital millions

Sixty patients died unexpectedly while receiving care at the University of Virginia Medical Center last year, according to Executive Vice President of Health Affairs Richard Shannon. This year, he says doctors are on track to drastically reduce that number. At a June 3 seminar called First Do No Harm, Shannon presented the health system’s efforts […]

A bloom of blue-green algae covers the South Fork Reservoir on August 21, 2015. Photo courtesy of the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority

In bloom: Algae in reservoirs ‘significant’

An unquantified, but substantial amount of blue-green algae has bloomed at the Beaver Creek and South Fork Rivanna reservoirs, according to a new report presented to the Rivanna Water & Sewer Authority’s board of directors May 24. Consultants say the water supply at Ragged Mountain Reservoir is another one to watch. Algae—caused by a nutrient […]

Jason Amatucci, the founder of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Coalition,  holds the American flag made of hemp that now hangs at City Hall. The flag was flown over the U.S. Capitol building on Veterans Day. Photo by Eze Amos

Hemp happens: A new flag flies at City Hall

A proud group of industrial hemp supporters hoisted an American flag made of the crop on the Downtown Mall May 25, announcing that it would be presented to Willie Nelson—another major advocate for its legalization—at his concert that night. “We’re trying to end this insanity of prohibition,” Mike Bowman, a Coloradoan and chair of the […]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is proposed to cross these Nelson County mountains. Photo: Jack Looney

‘Death by 1,000 cuts:’ A win for Nelson pipeline opponents

Companies surveying for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline must provide property owners sufficient written notice before setting foot on their properties, a Nelson County judge ruled May 9. Though this doesn’t stop the project, pipeline opponents say any ruling in favor of landowners is a success. “It gives us much more control over our property and […]

City and county police, as well as other community members gathered at City Hall to watch City Clerk Llezelle Dugger swear in Alfred Thomas, Jr. as the city's new police chief. Staff photo

Al Thomas sworn into office

Charlottesville’s first African-American Police Chief, Alfred Thomas, Jr., was sworn into office May 23. He succeeds Tim Longo, who worked with the department for 15 years. “You’ll notice they didn’t give me a gun yet,” Thomas said while fastening his new chief of police badge to his pants. City and county police in uniform, city […]

Locals reach out to the Virginia Wildlife Foundation in hope of preserving the historic structures on its property at Fulfillment Farms. Submitted photo

This land is your land: Efforts to save Fulfillment Farms continue

In April, C-VILLE reported on the potential razing of historic buildings at Fulfillment Farms in Esmont. While a demolition permit is currently on file, and the structures could be bulldozed at any time, a group of concerned citizens has come together to make a final plea for preservation. In Thomas Forrer’s will, signed months before […]

Martese Johnson, who graduates from UVA this weekend, requested a jury trial that is currently set for October. Staff photo

Martese Johnson’s suit against Virginia ABC moves forward

In a hearing in federal court on May 13, Judge Glen Conrad ruled to accept Martese Johnson’s amended complaint in his suit against the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, though the state had asked to throw out the lawsuit. The ABC’s attorney, Nicholas F. Simopoulos, said Johnson made more than 60 amendments to his […]

Albemarle police say they are internally investigating the incidient in wich an off-duty K9 attacked a young horse. Staff photo

Police recruits work to interpret their own biases

  New cops are learning a strategy called fair and impartial policing, which aims to help them evaluate their biases before they take to the streets. At a May 13 six-hour course, Albemarle’s Lieutenant Mike Wagner and Master Police Officer Dana Reeves taught 13 recruits from the county, Charlottesville and the University of Virginia police […]