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]

Bad week in court for two Virginia public officials and other news from around the state

By: - July 19, 2018

The trials of two public officials, one current, one former, wrapped up this week. —In Portsmouth, a jury found Councilman Mark Whitaker guilty of falsifying signatures on financial documents but recommended he serve no jail time, the Virginian Pilot reports. —In Danville, former School Board Chairwoman Sharon Jones was sentenced to serve 60 days in […]

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 […]