Samantha Baars



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 […]

Maria Chavalan Sut, a Guatemalan refugee, has been given sanctuary in the Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church while she fights to stay in the United States. Photo by Eze Amos

Local church offers sanctuary to refugee

A Guatemalan woman who fled to America seeking asylum in 2015 has been ordered by federal immigration agents to leave the country. But instead, a local church has given her sanctuary while she fights to stay in the United States through the legal system. “I have lived all of my life with violence,” said 44-year-old […]

Former Police Chief Al Thomas is still collecting a paycheck. Photo by Eze Amos

Former police chief still on city payroll

Former Charlottesville police chief Al Thomas may have left last year, but it hasn’t stopped him from collecting a paycheck. Although the city said in December that Thomas’ retirement would be “effective immediately,” it turns out, as first reported by WINA’s Rob Schilling, that Thomas has continued to receive his $134,513 annual salary, and will […]

Michael Del Rosso, chairman of the Charlottesville Republican Committee, was the first person to speak to the jail board during the public comment session. He said, "illegal aliens...have no reason to be here, anyway." Photo by Eze Amos

Overflow meeting: ICE calls continue

After months of thousands of community members urging the authority board at the Albemarle-Charlottesville Regional Jail to stop voluntarily reporting the release dates of undocumented immigrants to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the board held a special meeting September 13 to take a revote on that policy. At the local jail, and every jail in […]

Kathy Yowell Rohm. Courtesy Albemarle County Police

Daycare operator sentenced

A Forest Lakes woman who pleaded guilty to child cruelty in May for neglecting more than a dozen kids at an unlicensed daycare will serve two years in jail. “I would like to publicly apologize to all the parents,” said a tearful Kathy Yowell-Rohm, before a judge pronounced her sentence September 7 in Albemarle Circuit […]

Now we’ll never see more than a rendering of West2nd, the $50 million development of luxury condos and retail space that had been proposed at the current site of a Water Street parking lot since 2014. Rendering Keith Woodard

‘The last straw:’ Woodard pulls the plug on West2nd

Developer Keith Woodard has abandoned his plan to build a $50 million castle of downtown luxury condos and retail space on a city-owned Water Street parking lot. “The project was a tremendous undertaking, and over time, the process of obtaining the  necessary approvals became very difficult and at times adversarial, causing continual delays and uncertainty,” […]

When James Fields allegedly drove his car into the crowd on Fourth Street, he also smashed into a Toyota Camry. Photo by Eze Amos

YouTuber wants access to car attack videos 

In an August 21 hearing in Charlottesville Circuit Court, Commonwealth’s Attorney Joe Platania took an unusual seat—in the defendant’s chair—with his files resting on a table on the left side of the room, while another man took Platania’s usual seat on the right. William Evans, a Fairfax attorney representing himself, is suing the commonwealth’s attorney […]