Ben Hitchcock



The Clean Water Act helped depollute the James River.

Clean up your act: Local environmental groups sound off on Trump’s Clean Water Act rollback

Keeping our waterways swimmable, fishable, and drinkable seems like an uncontroversial goal—but the Trump administration apparently disagrees. Since assuming control, the administration has made a series of efforts to weaken long-standing protections for America’s waterways. Local environmental groups have grave concerns about the potential effects of these suggested laws in Virginia and across the country. […]

Local justice systems disproportionately contact black people, a new report finds.

Race-based bias: Consultants demonstrate racist policing, council says study didn’t go far enough

A report from a private consulting firm has concluded that Charlottesville and Albemarle disproportionately arrest black people, and that race-based disparities exist in the treatment of individuals in otherwise similar situations. The report analyzes adult arrest data from the beginning of 2014 through the end of 2016. During that period, more than half (51.5 percent) of […]

LaTita Talbert in front of her new home. Photo: John Robinson

Owning it: Housing advocate becomes a homeowner

LaTita Talbert is a single mother of six, a city bus driver, and a commissioner on the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority—and now, she’s a homeowner. On January 25, Talbert’s friends and family gathered in the backyard of the neat gray house on Sixth Street SE that Talbert renovated with Habitat for Humanity, to celebrate. […]

Court Square will be describe more accurately in the new brochure. Photo: Skyclad Aerial

Map quest: Committee seeks to create historically accurate tour of downtown

For years, the Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society and the city’s visitor’s center have been distributing a pamphlet that guides guests on a walking tour of downtown Charlottesville’s historic sites. There’s one problem, though: the map hasn’t been updated in ages. Robert Watkins, the city’s assistant historic preservation and design planner, says the old map is […]

Protesters at a Richmond rally hold signs demanding the removal of Confederate statues. Photo: Eze Amos

A change is gonna come: New Democratic government has big plans, big challenges ahead

“No pipeline.” “Climate action now.” “That awkward moment when you burn your own planet.” On December 6, a crowd of about 70 sign-carrying protesters gathered at Charlottesville’s Free Speech wall to demand the city and state government take immediate action against climate change. Carrying their handmade posters, musical instruments, and reusable water bottles, the activists […]

Housing divided: Critics say new budget puts parking over people

Housing divided: Critics say new budget puts parking over people

“By failing to fund affordable housing in your city, you are quite literally causing and creating homelessness,” said Alliance for Interfaith Ministries director Kimberly Fontaine at the Planning Commission’s public hearing for the city’s Capital Improvement Plan last week.  The Capital Improvement Plan covers non-recurring projects that last for five or more years and cost […]

Director Diane Kuknyo has been working with CDSS for more than 26 years.

Doing the work: Social Services department seeks to innovate and reflect

The Charlottesville Department of Social Services oversees a broad array of programs; everything from Child Protective Services to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, Medicaid, and more. In its November 18 annual report to City Council, the department’s advisory board highlighted some of the complicated challenges CDSS faces, along with its dedication to internal improvement. Medicaid […]