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.

Virginia businesses that rely on foreign workers wrestle with uncertainty over federal cap

By: - July 26, 2018

Graham and Rollins in Hampton is one of the state’s oldest remaining crab houses, but its owner, Johnny Graham, says finding workers to do the tough, seasonal job of actually picking the sweet meat out of the sharp, crusty shells has gotten harder and harder. “You can imagine what a nasty, monotonous, crab-smelling job this […]

Only one more state needs to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. Will it be Virginia?

By: - July 25, 2018

In May, Illinois became the 37th state to sign off on the federal Equal Rights Amendment, leaving the decades-long effort to guarantee men and women equal stature in the U.S. Constitution just one state shy of ratification. Now advocates are looking to Virginia as the most likely candidate to tip the effort over the edge. […]

Advocacy group will monitor Staunton detention center

By: - July 20, 2018

The disAbility Law Center of Virginia will look for signs of abuse and neglect at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center, the Staunton News Leader reports. Immigrant children being held at the facility have alleged they were “beaten while handcuffed and locked up for long periods in solitary confinement, left nude and shivering concrete cells,” the […]

We know eviction rates are high in Virginia. New research effort aims to tell us why.

By: - July 20, 2018

Major research released earlier this year found eviction rates in Virginia cities are among the highest in the country, drawing unprecedented attention to the issue and prompting a policy debate that’s still unfolding. But what has yet to be addressed in a rigorous academic setting is why eviction rates are so high here. That’s where […]

Business down at Virginia Papa John’s amid fallout from founder’s slur

By: - July 18, 2018

Alexandra Cline at the Richmond Times Dispatch reports that a Virginia Papa John’s franchiser with 21 locations in Richmond, Hampton Roads and Charlottesville is taking steps to distance itself from its corporate parent after the pizza company’s founder used a racial slur in a conference call. “We’re of all walks and creeds,” Matt Sanders, a […]

State board clears local jails of responsibility in 23 deaths but won’t release details of investigations

By: - July 18, 2018

The Virginia Board of Corrections wrapped up its first batch of inmate death investigations Wednesday, voting unanimously to clear about a dozen jails in 23 deaths that occurred in 2017 and 2018. The new review process was established by the General Assembly last year in a bid to increase oversight of local jails following the […]

With annexation off the table, officials studying ways to prod struggling cities to merge with counties

By: - July 18, 2018

Residents of Martinsville are slowly coming around to the idea that the best thing for the city might be for it to cease being a city at all. Off-and-on discussions have been ongoing for decades about whether the shrinking, 13,500-population city in southern Virginia should revert to town status and be absorbed by surrounding Henry […]

VCU president is highest-paid public college president in the state

By: - July 17, 2018

The Chronicle of Higher Education released its annual ranking of executive compensation of the country’s public and private colleges universities over the weekend. The highest-paid public college president in the state, Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, came in at 43 on the list with a compensation package totaling $690,943. Behind him on the list […]

Members of Va. gun rights group call for leader’s resignation after he was tricked into recording training video for toddlers

By: - July 17, 2018

Philip Van Cleave says he suspected he was being set up just five minutes into a multi-hour interview earlier this year with a supposed Israeli anti-terrorism expert. But the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, the state’s top gun advocacy group, said he pressed on, ultimately agreeing to record a firearms-training video for toddlers […]

Southwest Virginia school district is first in state to approve program to arm teachers. Is it legal?

By: - July 17, 2018

Members of the Lee County School Board voted unanimously last week to buy some teachers guns and have them designated as “conservators of the peace” as part of a new school security program. “We’ve realized we can not afford to put the number of school resource officers in Lee County that we would like to,” […]

Invasive giant hogweed, which can burn and blind, was here all along

By: - July 17, 2018

Giant hogweed’s sap causes third-degree burns. If it gets in your eyes it can blind you. And this summer, there’s been a run of sightings around Virginia. The most recent came last week, when an incoming Virginia Tech freshman who was doing landscaping work in Spotsylvania County was hospitalized with third-degree burns. Alarming, yes. But […]