Ben Hitchcock



Charlottesville public defender Ray Szwabowski is running to become the city’s top prosecutor. Photo: Eze Amos

‘A waste of lives’: Charlottesville commonwealth’s attorney candidate hopes to fight mass incarceration

Last month, Charlottesville public defender Ray Szwabowski announced his campaign for commonwealth’s attorney. Current Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania was elected in 2017 and has not announced if he’s running for re-election. If Platania runs, the two will face off in a Democratic primary in June, a year after a summer in which nationwide protests once […]

Denver Riggleman's new book, "Bigfoot... It's Complicated," is full of sex and light on insight

True believer: We read Denver Riggleman’s Bigfoot book so you don’t have to

Congressman Denver Riggleman’s new book, Bigfoot…It’s Complicated, begins with a chapter called “A Discussion on Simian Genitalia.” In other words, Riggleman, who was accused of enjoying “Bigfoot erotica” during his 2018 congressional campaign, is leaning in. Riggleman defeated Democrat Leslie Cockburn in 2018 despite the Bigfoot story, but will leave Washington having served just one […]

In Virginia's 5th Congressional District, Dr. Cameron Webb fell to Bob Good in a highly contested race. PC: Eze Amos

Flip the script: In conversation with Cameron Webb

In 2016, Donald Trump won Virginia’s 5th Congressional District by 11 percentage points. Two years later, as a blue wave saw Democrats pick up 41 House seats nationwide, Republican Denver Riggleman beat Democrat Leslie Cockburn by 7 percent.  Virginia’s 5th District runs from Fauquier County to the North Carolina border. The huge district encompasses the […]

This cartoon, first published in 1812 in the Boston Gazette, shows Massachusetts legislator Elbridge Gerry’s district drawn in the shape of a salamander—a “gerry-mander.” We’ve been using the term ever since.

Party lines: A close look at the controversial gerrymandering amendment that could define a decade of Virginia politics

“As early as the middle of the seventeenth century, the government of Virginia was a government of the tobacco planters, by the tobacco planters, and for the tobacco planters. Restrictions on the suffrage and distribution of representative seats secured their political dominance,” writes historian Brent Tarter in his 2019 book Gerrymanders. Four hundred years later, […]

Teachers in Orange County feel the district is unprepared for in-person reopening. Pictured: Orange County High School.

Reopening rage: Orange County’s plan for in-person class draws fear, anger, resignations from teachers

“Morale is at the lowest level it’s ever been,” says one Orange County public school teacher. “You walk down the hallway and everybody is banging their heads against the wall because we’re just so frustrated.”  “The most appalling part of this,” says another teacher, “is that there’s so many things that they haven’t thought about.” […]

Nelson County mountains. Photo: Jack Looney

This week, 7/29

Last month, I was lucky to be able to head for the hills with two old friends—we spent a long weekend hiking and camping on the Appalachian Trail in southwest Virginia. We’re all amateur campers. From the top of a mountain, we marveled at a far-off hailstorm, only for it to sweep over us and […]

In 2018, Dominion began cutting down trees to make way for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, which has now been canceled. Photo: Pipeline CSI

Pipeline voices: Activists look back on a historic victory

On July 5, Dominion Energy abruptly canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, an $8 billion project that would have carried natural gas 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina. Environmental activists of all persuasions spent six years fighting the project before finally prevailing over the gigantic power corporation. As the victory set in, C-VILLE caught […]

This week, 7/15

This week, 7/15

The main character in the story on page 10 of this week’s paper doesn’t have a name. He doesn’t have a face.  Shortly after a video of the brutal arrest of Christopher Gonzalez was posted on Instagram July 8, the Charlottesville Police Department released 17 minutes of body camera footage of the incident. Since arriving […]

Charlottesville's old woolen mill is now occupied in part by a selection of trendy dining options. Photo: The Wool Factory

Factory-made: Brewery, restaurant, café hint at the future of Charlottesville’s woolen mill

  Charlottesville’s old woolen mill, peering over the Rivanna River on the town’s eastern edge, had been gathering dust for years. Now, the rubble has been cleared, and it’s time to drink beer. In 2018, app development company WillowTree began a $25 million overhaul of the building. WillowTree’s employees will move into their 85,000-square-foot offices […]

Damani Harrison on the set of the "One for George" video shoot. Image: Jason Lappa

This week, 7/1

A month ago, George Floyd was murdered by the police. Since then, Damani Harrison has led a group of artists “coming together to speak truth to power” in the multimedia “One for George” project—our cover story this week. Also in this week’s issue: The Charlottesville police department has been harming Black and brown people for […]

Protesters left spray paint outside the police department after a July 21 demonstration. Photo: Eze Amos

Leaving a mark: Police department out for arrests after protesters spray paint street

Arrest warrants were issued for six people accused of spray painting the street outside the Charlottesville Police Department over the last two weeks. Police say the demonstrators “vandalized the streets and the sidewalks with cruel, threatening, and hate-filled language.” The first four charges, announced in a June 25 press release, concerned paint on the sidewalk […]