Ben Hitchcock



Two state prisons in Buckingham Country have seen severe COVID outbreaks among incarcerated populations.

COVID cases soar in Buckingham state prisons; Charlottesville poised for reopening

Correctional facilities, where inmates live in tight quarters, have proven (entirely predictably) to be hotbeds for coronavirus outbreaks. Some jails and prisons in the area have managed to avoid major transmission within their walls—as of May 8, the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail has reported just four cases, all among “support staff” who do not come in […]

Councilor Payne addresses his fellow councilors via videoconference.

Busted budget: Schools, housing initiatives among programs affected by coronavirus crash

  The City of Charlottesville was almost all the way through the always-laborious yearly budget process when the coronavirus crisis derailed its plans. City Council held an online meeting Monday night—its first meeting in a month—to discuss the city’s deeply uncertain finances. The most recent projections, delivered by City Manager Tarron Richardson, suggest $8.5 million […]

The Virginia democratic primary will likely narrow a still-crowded field.

Dems do battle: Charlottesville heads to the polls for Democratic primary on Super Tuesday

Mike Bloomberg’s Charlottesville campaign office is cavernous—and, on a Wednesday afternoon with the Virginia primary less than two weeks away, totally empty. The ninth-richest man in the world set up shop across the street from Friendship Court, one of Charlottesville’s largest low-income housing neighborhoods, but it doesn’t seem to have led to any foot traffic. […]

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 […]