Ben Hitchcock



This week, 6/24

This week, 6/24

  “Coronavirus Could Be the End of Alt-Weeklies,” declared a Mother Jones headline in March. Around the country, venerable snark-slinging rags have dropped employees or shut down entirely, crippled by cratering ad revenue. C-VILLE, unfortunately, has not escaped the crash. Our staff is a lot smaller than it was just a few weeks ago. (The […]

Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail. Photo: Skyclad Aerial

Zero crimes, zero cases: Charlottesville’s progressive pandemic response has long-term implications

  As the pandemic took hold in mid-March, Charlottesville and Albemarle’s criminal justice decision-makers started letting people out of jail. Two months in, it looks like the emergency measures have paid off: The Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail has not reported a single coronavirus case among inmates, and those transferred to house arrest have not posed any […]

Dillwyn Correctional Center has had the most coronavirus cases of any prison in Virginia. Staff Photo

‘A total disaster’: Families report AWOL admin, insufficient precautions as COVID runs rampant in Buckingham state prisons

  “When we found out he had it, we was pretty sure he was going to die,” says a sibling of a man incarcerated in Buckingham Correctional Center. Buckingham is home to the fourth-worst coronavirus outbreak of any correctional facility in Virginia—112 inmates have tested positive. Dillwyn Correctional Center, a lower-security facility across the street, […]

The 10th and Grady church. Photo: Stephen Barling

‘We got a lot of history in there’: The 10th and Grady church tells the story of a city

  A crane looms over a huge glass rectangle. The shiny office block, just completed, sits behind Preston Avenue’s old Monticello Dairy factory, where renovation work has been underway since 2018. When the new Dairy Central corner is fully operational next year, the complex will boast state-of-the-art office space, swanky apartments, and a “Brooklyn-based coffee […]

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. […]