Samantha Baars



Aerial view of the Chesapeake Bay. Photo: Robert Llewellyn

For the love of the South

As he prepares to step down, the founder of the Southern Environmental Law Center looks back on three decades of defending the region’s natural treasures   Ambitious and naive. That’s how Rick Middleton describes himself 33 years ago, when he founded the Southern Environmental Law Center, a small nonprofit that would protect the air, the […]

Katrina Turner, a member of the Police Civilian Review Board, didn’t do anything wrong when she announced her role on the board and filmed a portion of her son’s traffic stop, according to the city’s top prosecutor.  STAFF PHOTO

Conflict of interest on the Police Civilian Review Board? Prosecutor says ‘no’

When Police Civilian Review Board member Katrina Turner got involved in her son’s February 1 traffic stop, a local defense attorney asked the city’s commonwealth’s attorney to determine whether she had violated the state’s conflict of interest act. At last week’s review board meeting, attorney and regular attendee Denise Lunsford told the board she’d asked […]

Local Goodwill stores have seen a nearly 20 percent increase in donations compared to this time last year, says District Manager Lisa Sexton, and she’s attributing it to the new Netflix show “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo.” Photo by Sanjay Suchak

The Kondo effect: Donations surge as people purge

Local Goodwill stores collected 13,800 donations in the month of January —an 18.5 percent increase from those gathered this time last year. And they’re attributing it to a Netflix special about a now world-famous Japanese decluttering expert named Marie Kondo. Perhaps you’ve heard of her. Before starring in “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo,” she made […]

Dana Naylor, who drove the Times Disposal garbage truck hit by an Amtrak train a year ago, was acquitted of involuntary manslaughter in the death of Christopher Foley. Photo by Jack Looney

Trash truck driver fights DUI charge

First he was hit by a train. Now his attorney is attempting to prove that he was also hit with a bogus DUI charge. Dana Naylor, the driver of the garbage truck that was hit by an Amtrak train in Crozet last year, was in court January 22 to dispute evidence being used against him. […]

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 […]