Samantha Baars



Jerrod Smith announced his run for the Rivanna District seat on the Board of Supervisors with a campaign theme called the "dream infrastructure."

Jerrod Smith announces Board of Supervisors run

“We all begin with a dream,” said Albemarle native Jerrod Smith at the start of his January 18 campaign announcement. He’s hoping to snag the Rivanna District seat on the Board of Supervisors with a campaign called the “dream infrastructure.” And it starts with finding new solutions to an age-old issue in Albemarle: lack of […]

Activists say Dominion’s plan to build a pipeline compressor station in the historically African American community of Union Hill is a stark example of environmental injustice and racism. Courtesy of Friends of Buckingham

On hold: Dominion faces pipeline permit problems

All is quiet along the proposed path of the 600-mile Atlantic Coast Pipeline, now that five federal permits have either been thrown out or put on hold. A vote on a permit that would allow a 54,000-horsepower pipeline compressor station to be built in Buckingham’s historic African American community of Union Hill, on a former […]

Day 11: Fields’ mental health evaluated

Day 11: Fields’ mental health evaluated

Many thought James Fields’ mental health would be used as a defense during his murder trial– but surprisingly, it never came up. Instead, jurors learned about his troubled state of mind during the December 10 sentencing hearing, after he’d been found guilty of murdering Heather Heyer and injuring many others at the Unite the Right […]

Day 9: Closing arguments in Fields’ trial

Day 9: Closing arguments in Fields’ trial

It’s in the jury’s hands now. The prosecution and defense have given their closing arguments on the ninth day of James Alex Fields Jr.’s first-degree murder trial. The man charged with killing Heather Heyer and injuring many others when he rammed his car into a crowd at an August 12, 2017, white supremacist rally also […]

Day 7: Witnesses describe Fields’ arrest

Day 7: Witnesses describe Fields’ arrest

The prosecution rested today in the trial of James Alex Fields Jr. and the defense began its case, both sides focusing on the defendant during and after his arrest August 12, 2017. In prosecution videos of Fields after he was taken into police custody, he repeatedly apologized, asked about any injuries, and hyperventilated for more […]

The goal of foster care isn't to get a child adopted, but to reunite her with her parents.

YOU Issue: Foster care isn’t all about adoption

Here’s what readers asked for: I would love to see an article about the changing shift in philosophy regarding foster care, as well debunking common misperceptions. —Marnie Allen A common misperception about children in foster care is that the goal is to get them adopted. But Alicia Lenahan, the president of Piedmont CASA, says reunifying […]

YOU Issue: Recess report

YOU Issue: Recess report

Here’s what readers asked for: What the hell happened to recess in our schools?—Rebecca Coleman Cooper After her daughter had recess time taken away twice for talking during class, local mom Christa Bennett started a petition to end this punitive practice in city schools. And she thought it had worked. The city’s school board approved […]

Hogwaller Farm will include two multi-story residential buildings, with 12 one-bedroom and 18 two-bedroom apartments on Nassau Street, and several acres of farmland and a farm stand. Courtesy of Justin Shimp

Development discontent: A Hogwaller by any other name

A new development proposed in Hogwaller—that fabled southeast corner of the Belmont-Carlton neighborhood—would give residents the opportunity to live and grow their own food on a small urban pasture called Hogwaller Farm. However, some people have objected to its location. And its name. Developer Justin Shimp, an engineer, says his idea for the new community […]

A judge found the arrest of local mom Lara Harrison at an August school board meeting unconstitutional. Others arrested that day weren’t as lucky. Photo by Eze Amos

County warning: School board activists go to trial

Five anti-racist activists were in court October 30, following their arrests at an August 30 special meeting of the Albemarle County School Board. But many community members feel like only one was handed down the verdict she deserved. While Lara Harrison’s trespassing charge was dropped, four others were convicted of trespassing or obstruction of justice. […]

Donna Gasapo called John Miska a Nazi as he left the courthouse in September. Staff photo

Gasapo not guilty, veteran gets protective order

Veteran and activist John Miska, who was followed by a group of protesters and called a “Nazi” after a recent court hearing, filed a criminal charge for abusive language against a member of what he called a “mob.” On November 5, a judge found her not guilty. Anti-racist activist Donna Gasapo is known for hurling […]

The Atlantic Coast Pipeline is only one approval away from reality. Construction has already started on its tail ends in West Virginia and North Carolina, and Dominion has applied for permission to start building in Virginia.

Edging closer: Atlantic Coast Pipeline gets state go-ahead

Earlier this month, the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued the final state approval needed to begin construction on the $6 billion, 600-mile, 42-inch diameter Atlantic Coast Pipeline planned to slice through Nelson County on its way from West Virginia to North Carolina, leaving only one more federal hurdle. Massive opposition to Dominion Energy’s pipeline […]

Before potentially renaming Cale Elementary School, Albemarle County School Board Chair Kate Acuff wants the superintendent to review the current policy on naming schools, and to examine the names of all schools in the division. Photo by Eze Amos

Another name change? Albemarle school board confronts racist past

“White parents would not permit their children to receive instruction from inferior Negro teachers—and they were inferior.” These recently resurfaced words, which originally appeared in a July 1, 1956, article titled “Virginia’s Creeping Desegregation: Force of the Inevitable” in Commentary Magazine, were said by Dr. Paul Cale, the longest-serving Albemarle County schools superintendent, and the […]