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.

Giving undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses and in-state tuition could help the economy, report says

By: - August 21, 2019

If Virginia offered undocumented immigrants driver’s licenses, in-state tuition and state financial aid and subsidized health care, the state could reap economic and social benefits, a new report says. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a progressive Washington D.C. think tank, recommended four policies to “welcome immigrants … into the mainstream economy and foster […]

‘Farmer’ Northam says Trump’s trade war has cut profits for growers

By: - August 20, 2019

President Donald Trump’s trade war with China threatens profits for Virginia’s soybean farmers, a group that includes Gov. Ralph Northam, he said during a financial update to lawmakers. Northam, speaking at a presentation to the Joint Money Committee, owns and leases about 50 acres of farm land on the Eastern Shore. “I’m a farmer,” said […]

VCU converts student lounges into temporary dorm rooms in newest residence hall

By: - August 13, 2019

Thanks to an increased interest in on-campus housing, 20 first-year students at Virginia Commonwealth University will live in converted spaces in the university’s newest dorm. Photos of student lounges with dorm beds and other furniture in VCU’s Gladding Residence Center began circulating Twitter on Monday. ASKSKSKSKSKSKKSKKSK pic.twitter.com/V5ZBqB6gnx — ʜᴀʟᴇs (@hotgirlhales) August 12, 2019 University spokesperson […]

To stem killings, GOP lawmaker wants to boost violence intervention programs in Virginia

By: - August 12, 2019

Taking cues from other states and cities that have implemented them, Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, wants Virginia to establish more programs that encourage people to leave violent lifestyles in order to curb shooting deaths. Weeks after the General Assembly abruptly adjourned a special session called to address gun violence after a mass shooting in Virginia […]

Yearly cost of college increase was the smallest since 2000, new report finds

By: - August 6, 2019

The total average cost of college in Virginia rose 2.1 percent for in-state undergrads this academic year, the lowest increase since 2000, an annual report from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia found. SCHEV’s annual tuition and fees report details increases in public college charges, including tuition, mandatory fees and room and board. […]

Board of Elections member makes unsuccessful push to get Del. Nick Freitas on the ballot

By: - August 6, 2019

John O’Bannon, the lone Republican on the Board of Elections, made two failed motions Tuesday to give the Republican Party of Virginia another chance to get a nominee on the ballot in a House of Delegates race. O’Bannon first made a motion to allow Del. Nick Freitas, R-Culpeper, on the ballot despite late and missing […]

Trump interrupted by state delegate’s protest at Jamestown as black lawmakers boycott president’s appearance

By: and - July 30, 2019

Police removed a Democratic state delegate from a commemoration of the General Assembly’s 400th anniversary after he interrupted a speech by President Donald Trump to protest the administration’s immigration policies. “Mr. President, you can’t send us back; Virginia is our home,” said Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax, shouting as he waved a sign that read “deport hate.” […]

Palestinian-American delegate interrupts Trump at Jamestown: ‘Mr. President, you can’t send us back. Virginia is our home.’

By: and - July 30, 2019

Police removed a Democratic state delegate from a commemoration of the General Assembly’s 400th anniversary after he interrupted a speech by President Donald Trump to protest the administration’s immigration policies. “Mr. President, you can’t send us back; Virginia is our home,” said Del. Ibraheem Samirah, D-Fairfax, shouting as he waved a sign that read “deport hate.” […]

Black and Latino students may struggle with ‘unsustainable’ student debt, report says

By: - July 29, 2019

A new report from the Center for Responsible Lending and the NAACP said black and Latino college graduates may struggle with higher and more difficult-to-manage student loan debt than their white counterparts. “Historically, access to higher education has been dramatically unequal,” the report stated. “This pattern persists today as African-American and Latino students struggle to […]

Virginia’s Board of Education is considering recommendations to ‘force the hand of the General Assembly’

By: - July 29, 2019

The Virginia Board of Education is considering a recommendation that would lay out minimum funding requirements for a state budget item used to help at-risk students, a move intended to put pressure on the General Assembly to increase education spending. The board is going through its regular process of amending the Standards of Quality, or […]

General registrars were given a raise, but some may not be seeing it

By: - July 25, 2019

A promised 6 percent raise for Virginia general registrars in the state may not be getting paid out as expected, some elections professionals say. Robin Lind, a member of the Virginia Electoral Board Association and Goochland County Electoral Board, said he knows of at least one instance of a registrar only getting a portion of […]

Virginia’s community colleges will offer programs with guaranteed transfer credits next fall

By: - July 18, 2019

A program to keep community college students on track for a smooth transfer to four-year schools should be ready by the 2020 school year. The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia approved guidelines for the Passport program this week. The program puts community college students through general education classes that will be accepted at […]