Author

Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle Hankerson

Mechelle, born and raised in Virginia Beach, is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University with a degree in mass communications and a concentration in print journalism. She covered the General Assembly for the university’s Capital News Service and was among 12 student journalists in swing states selected by the Washington Post to cover the 2012 presidential election. For the past five years, she has covered local government, crime, housing, infrastructure and other issues at the Raleigh News & Observer and The Virginian-Pilot, where she most recently covered the state’s biggest city, Virginia Beach. Mechelle was with the Virginia Mercury until January 3rd, 2019.

Virginia Beach will ask the General Assembly to ban conversion therapy

By: - October 16, 2019

The state’s largest city unanimously added a request to its legislative agenda Tuesday night to ban conversion therapy in the state. Virginia Beach’s only gay councilmember, Michael Berlucchi, and the city’s Human Rights Commission added the issue to the city’s package of statewide priorities.  Being the state’s largest city puts weight behind the effort, Berlucchi […]

Virginia Wesleyan and Marymount universities want the Supreme Court to protect DACA

By: - October 14, 2019

Virginia Wesleyan and Marymount universities were the only Virginia schools to sign on to a legal brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to protect students covered under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals policy that President Donald Trump cancelled in 2017. “Virginia Wesleyan University is committed to inclusiveness and acceptance of all, especially those seeking […]

Lawmakers are considering a tax for vape products. Vape shops warn it could fuel a dangerous black market.

By: - October 10, 2019

It used to be that Jay Taylor smoked his first cigarette — a Marlboro Red — before getting out of bed in the morning. By the time most days were over, he would have smoked three packs. Taylor worked at UNOS, which manages organ transplants, so he knew that smoking degraded his lungs, heart and […]

Mass shooting takes center stage in Virginia Beach State Senate campaign

By: - October 8, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH — Karen Havekost was in Virginia Beach’s Municipal Building 2 when a shooter opened fire in May. “I walked out of the bathroom and saw the gunman on the other end of the hallway,” she says in a political ad released at the end of September. “I saw a coworker in the middle, […]

Thousands of college students might qualify for food stamps but don’t use the program

By: - October 3, 2019

Roughly half of the students in college in Virginia in 2017 qualified for the federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, though many didn’t use the program, according to newly released data from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia. SCHEV used information from financial aid paperwork and statistics from the Department of Social Services to […]

Democrats see opportunity in race for a rural Eastern Shore House seat

By: - October 1, 2019

VIRGINIA BEACH — In the stands on a Friday night at his son’s high school football game across the Chesapeake Bay from the Eastern Shore-based House of Delegates district he represents, Rob Bloxom isn’t especially worried about the looming election. Bloxom’s been told — jokingly, he says — that he should spend more time in […]

Virginia Mercury

Emails show children of University of Virginia donors get extra consideration during admissions; Virginia seats first Asian American judge and more headlines

By: - September 30, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • “For the last 20 years, the University (of Virginia) has used a list to track certain applicants who receive an additional review — many of whom are connected to major donors,” emails obtained by student journalists found. Not only did borderline applicants on […]

Virginia Mercury

Fairfax County approves police body camera program; Dominion and others have spent $109M lobbying for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and more headlines

By: - September 26, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere• Fairfax County approved a body camera program for the police department. Implementation will start next year, and the county plans to issue 1,210 cameras for all police stations within three years. – The Washington Post• Independent investigators of the Virginia Beach shooting are looking into reports […]

UVA-Wise wants more teachers with advanced degrees in Southwest Virginia

By: - September 26, 2019

The University of Virginia at Wise has asked the State Council of Higher Education to start a master’s in education program by fall 2020 which could help 30 more teachers in Southwest Virginia earn advanced degrees every year. “What we’ve found is that teachers trained from UVA-Wise tend to stay in the region and they […]

Investigators aren’t sure what motivated Virginia Beach shooting; Coal company with Virginia operations wants to sell mines; The state needs acorns and more headlines

By: - September 25, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere.• Investigators in Virginia Beach are struggling to find the motive behind a mass shooter’s rampage in May that killed 12 people. That “has left already-reeling families starved for closure, with several saying they can’t fully grieve without knowing what led up to the tragedy […]

Virginia Mercury

Luria and Spanberger call for impeachment if Ukraine allegations are true; Terry McAuliffe’s car is stolen in Washington D.C. and more headlines

By: - September 24, 2019

NEWS TO KNOW Our daily roundup of headlines from Virginia and elsewhere. • Democratic Reps. Elaine Luria and Abigail Spanberger urged Congress to impeach Trump if allegations he pressured Ukraine to investigate Joe Biden are true in an op-ed with five other freshman Democrats with national security backgrounds. – The Washington Post • Sen. Amanda Chase, R-Chesterfield, released […]

Va. isn’t ready to settle with Purdue — yet. Here’s what it wants.

By: - September 24, 2019

In recent weeks, several states have settled opioid lawsuits brought against Purdue Pharma. Virginia isn’t one them. Attorney General Mark Herring said in a release he won’t agree to a settlement until it’s in the “best interest of Virginians” and Purdue and the Sacklers “must face real, significant, personal accountability.” The state alleges that over […]