Author

Ned Oliver

Ned Oliver

Ned, a Lexington native, has been a fulltime journalist since 2008, beginning at The News-Gazette in Lexington, and including stints at the Berkshire Eagle, in Berkshire County, Mass., and the Times-Dispatch and Style Weekly in Richmond. He is a graduate of Bard College at Simon’s Rock, in Great Barrington, Mass. He was named Virginia's outstanding journalist for 2020 by the Virginia Press Association. Contact him at [email protected]

Northam says he won’t rush pardons as term winds down

By: - December 2, 2021

Cynthia Scott started serving a prison sentence on a robbery conviction at age 31. She’s now 52. Her release date won’t come until she’s 70. She doubts she’ll make it. “Not with this medical care,” she says, describing a range of serious conditions she says have gone untreated despite leaving her incontinent and in danger […]

Members of Mattaponi tribe plan protest during annual tax tribute ceremony

By: - November 23, 2021

For 343 years, representatives of the Mattaponi and Pamunkey Indian Tribes have been delivering fresh game in lieu of taxes to Virginia governors under the terms of a 1677 peace treaty. This year, some members of the Mattaponi tribe are hoping the pre-Thanksgiving ceremony will deliver something for them: attention to their push for democratic […]

Fight erupts over plan to stop outsourcing prison health care in Virginia

By: - November 18, 2021

When the head of Virginia’s prison system announced to staff members this summer that he planned to end the practice of outsourcing medical care to a private contractor, his memo to employees suggested the decision was final. Armor Health, the Florida-based company that suddenly faced the prospect of losing its $90-million contract to staff prisons […]

State proposes ban on riding bikes past Capitol

By: - November 17, 2021

Planning officials in Richmond are urging the state to reconsider a plan to bar riding a bike in front of the Capitol on Bank Street. State officials floated the idea, which calls for cyclists to dismount upon entering the area, as part of plans to convert the street into a permanent “promenade/bus way.” “This is […]

Virginians are among least likely to seek unemployment insurance. It might be because benefits are so low.

By: - November 15, 2021

Unemployment benefits are intended to provide a temporary safety net for people who lose their jobs, but for decades, fewer and fewer people in Virginia have been turning to the program for help. A report released last week notes that Virginia’s recipiency rate, a metric used by the federal government to track uptake of benefits, […]

Some in newly empowered Va. GOP open to speeding retail sales of marijuana

By: - November 11, 2021

Newly empowered Republicans in Virginia say plans to allow retail sales of recreational marijuana won’t necessarily be doomed under their control of the House of Delegates and Executive Mansion. And some say they’re open to speeding up the timeline for allowing retail sales, which is currently delayed until 2024. “You almost kind of have to,” […]

Scathing audit faults poor management for Virginia’s unemployment insurance failures

By: - November 8, 2021

Virginia’s failure to deliver unemployment benefits in a timely manner left thousands of jobless Virginians waiting months for aid during the pandemic. Now, a scathing audit says much of the blame lies with poor management coupled with limited oversight by Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration. “It’s clear that additional oversight and assistance is needed,” Lauren Axselle, […]

GOP agenda takes shape in Richmond

By: - November 4, 2021

A friendly meeting between the governor and the governor elect. A preview of the new House majority’s agenda. Promises to refocus the attorney general’s office on law enforcement. The transition of power from Democrats to Republicans in Richmond began in earnest Thursday after the GOP’s electoral sweep earlier this week, which handed the party control […]

Wild-card Democratic senators in line to be power players of divided government

By: - November 3, 2021

With Republicans in Virginia suddenly one Senate seat away from total control of state government, attention turned almost immediately Wednesday to a pair of Democratic senators with a history of siding with the GOP on key issues like education and abortion. And on Wednesday morning, the two men, Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax City, and Sen. […]

Youngkin wins major upset as GOP roars back in Virginia

By: and - November 3, 2021

Republican Glenn Youngkin narrowly defeated Democrat Terry McAuliffe in Tuesday’s election for governor, a major upset on a night that saw the Virginia GOP make sweeping gains after a nearly decade-long losing streak in statewide elections. Several news outlets called the race for Youngkin shortly after 12:30 a.m. Republicans Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares also […]

Cheat sheet: Youngkin and McAuliffe on the issues

By: , , and - November 1, 2021

As the race for governor comes to a close, here’s a look back at the stances Democrat Terry McAuliffe and Republican Glenn Youngkin have staked out on major policy issues. Public education has become the dominant issue of Virginia’s gubernatorial race. But in the last weeks of the campaign, both candidates have focused less on […]

Virginia’s prison population fell by thousands during the pandemic. Will it stay down?

By: - October 28, 2021

Virginia’s prison population dropped by more than 5,000 people during the pandemic, and officials tasked with projecting future trends are wondering if it’s going to stay that way. In a report released this month, Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran’s office said said it’s too soon to know what impact legislation passed […]