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]

Virginia judge jails alleged domestic violence victim for smoking pot on day of court testimony

By: - September 17, 2021

A judge in Loudoun County interrupted the testimony of the alleged victim in a felony domestic violence trial last week to question her drug use, sentencing her to 10 days in jail for contempt of court after she said she had smoked marijuana earlier in the day. She was then “physically removed from the witness […]

Legal challenge slows rural broadband plans in Virginia

By: - September 15, 2021

Supporters call it a commonsense way to get broadband internet into more homes in rural Virginia. A Culpeper County couple calls it an unconstitutional infringement on their property rights. The fight, which has already halted an $600 million broadband expansion project, does not appear to be going away anytime soon. At issue is a 2020 […]

With Confederates vanquished, what’s next for Richmond’s Monument Avenue?

By: - September 8, 2021

Onlookers cheered as crews lifted a bronze likeness of Robert E. Lee off a 40-foot-tall, state-owned pedestal Wednesday. Officials say they plan to move what had been the country’s largest remaining Confederate statue into temporary storage. From there, its fate is TBD, as are plans for Monument Avenue as a whole — a boulevard built […]

Virginia leads nation in distribution of federal rent relief

By: - September 7, 2021

Virginia has distributed more of its share of federal rent relief money to families struggling in the pandemic than any other state in the country, according to U.S. Treasury data. “This is a great thing,” said Christie Marra, the director of housing advocacy at the Virginia Poverty Law Center. “The whole goal here is to […]

Va. Supreme Court clears way for removal of Lee monument in Richmond

By: - September 2, 2021

The Supreme Court of Virginia cleared the way Thursday for Gov. Ralph Northam to remove the Lee Monument in Richmond, one of the largest Confederate memorials in the state. In two opinions issued Thursday, the Court denied challenges by a small group of neighbors and an heir to the family that initially granted the land […]

Virginia no longer ranked ‘worst for workers’

By: - September 1, 2021

For years, Virginia has been ranked as one of the “best states for business.” And for years, Virginia has also been ranked one of the worst states for workers. This year, however, the state managed to hold onto the best-for-business claim while shedding the unflattering assessment of its labor policies, rising from dead last to […]

Judge declines to dismiss lawsuit over slow processing of unemployment benefits

By: - August 31, 2021

A federal judge says he’s not ready to dismiss a lawsuit over Virginia’s slow processing of unemployment claims, citing among other things ongoing complaints that have been arriving in his own office. “The Court continues to frequently receive telephone calls from individuals reporting difficulties processing their claims and communicating with the VEC,” wrote U.S. District […]

Virginia workplace safety regulators agree to let businesses follow CDC pandemic guidelines

By: - August 26, 2021

The state board that oversees workplace pandemic safety rules agreed to a slate of revisions Thursday, approving new language that will allow businesses to follow Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance in lieu of state regulations. The change was recommended by Gov. Ralph Northam at the urging of the business community and opposed by […]

Virginia Department of Corrections chief paints dire picture of prison staffing

By: - August 25, 2021

The head of Virginia’s prison system, Harold Clarke, told lawmakers Wednesday his department is short 1,500 correctional officers, leaving essential posts unmanned and forcing remaining workers to work double shifts and come in on days off. “We’re doing our best to manage a dire situation,” Clarke said. His comments came during the inaugural meeting of […]

Cheesy Westerns, bongs and labor shortages: understanding Va.’s hectic pandemic job market

By: - August 24, 2021

LYNCHBURG — The Texas Inn sits at the end of Main Street in Lynchburg, an 86-year-old beacon for late-night drunk food with a menu centered around a Depression-era chili recipe and a grease-laden sandwich known as the Cheesy Western. And for more than a decade, you could find Jacob Johns happily working the flat-top grill […]

Virginia lawmakers already discussing speeding up retail marijuana sales

By: - August 17, 2021

Virginia lawmakers are already discussing speeding up the three-year delay between marijuana legalization last month and the beginning of retail sales. “We have legalized the use of marijuana, but we have not legalized the actual purchase of marijuana,” said Del. Paul Krizek, D-Alexandria, during the inaugural meeting Tuesday of the legislature’s Joint Commission on Cannabis […]

How Virginia plans to spend $700 million on broadband expansion

By: - August 16, 2021

Virginia lawmakers agreed to devote $700 million in federal pandemic aid to broadband expansion, a sum of money they say will allow them to connect every household in the state to high-speed internet. The money is a victory for rural localities that view high-speed internet access as critical to their survival but have struggled to […]