Samantha Baars

Samantha Baars


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 could run through 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 […]

Left: Courtesy of NBC 29
Right: Staff photo

8K to honor Running Man, an urban legend to some

In honor of Philip Weber III, aka Running Man, the director of Champion Brewing Company’s running club is organizing a memorial 8K that will take place on Saturday, May 28, and benefit the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library. Weber died after he was struck by an SUV on Ivy Road last December. “There were times when, to […]

The Sierra Club’s John Cruickshank says many people are surprised to learn that
city groundskeepers still use products
such as Snapshot, Oryzalin, ProStar and Roundup QuikPro. Photo by Jon-Phillip Sheridan

Poison control: Some say no to chemical weed killers

The Piedmont Group of the Sierra Club is urging the community to speak out against the usage of synthetic chemical pesticides in parks and on school grounds. Though city staff has taken steps to reduce the overall use of toxic chemicals in those areas, environmentalists hope to make 2016 the year in which they are […]

Russell Matthews, who will be released from the Dillwyn Correctional Center in December, pitches his final plan to start a landscaping business after his release. Photo: Amy Jackson

Darden program helps inmates plan for life after prison

Thirty-five-year-old Russell Matthews, dressed in a denim shirt, blue jeans and white sneakers, enters a small classroom in the Dillwyn Correctional Center in central Virginia and shakes his instructor’s hand. He’s the first of about 15 prisoners to arrive to class on this mid-April day. “Good evening,” Matthews says to Jonathan Jones, the class instructor […]

Local nonprofit How2Recycle helps you recycle through descriptive labeling. Photo courtesy of How2Recycle

Learn How2Recycle the tough stuff

  If you’ve ever wanted to recycle the plastic bag inside of your box of Cheerios but didn’t quite know how, a Charlottesville-based initiative called How2Recycle could be your saving grace. In the spirit of Earth Day, here’s a bit more about the project created by a three-person team working to make a big impact […]

ACAC trainer Gina Ostarly, No. 14, auditioned for the Saintsations April 17. Had she made the team, she would have been the oldest cheerleader in the NFL. Photo by Layne Murdoch Jr.

Cheer leader: 48-year-old tries out to be a Saintsation

One local woman proved that age is only a number when she auditioned for the New Orleans Saints’ official cheerleading team, the Saintsations, April 17. A personal trainer at ACAC and a New Orleans native, 48-year-old Gina Ostarly spent last Sunday performing a choreographed dance routine on the Saints’ practice field at its team headquarters […]

George "Tex" Wells, right, dresses as General Robert E. Lee at the Virginia Flaggers rally in Lee Park. Staff photo

Virginia Flaggers rally to keep the Lee statue standing

In an effort to “Save Lee Park,” the Virginia Flaggers hosted an April 18 rally in front of the park’s General Robert E. Lee monument to advocate for keeping the historic statue in place, after the group made their opposition to removing it known at a rally last month, which was hosted by Vice-Mayor Wes […]