Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah Vogelsong

Sarah is Editor-in-Chief of the Mercury and previously its environment and energy reporter. She has worked for multiple Virginia and regional publications, including Chesapeake Bay Journal, The Progress-Index and The Caroline Progress. Her reporting has won awards from groups such as the Society of Environmental Journalists and Virginia Press Association, and she is an alumna of the Columbia Energy Journalism Initiative and Metcalf Institute Science Immersion Workshop for Journalists.

Appeals court questions state law on referendum signature collectors

By: - May 5, 2023

The Virginia Court of Appeals is asking a lower court to consider whether state law setting a local residency requirement for people collecting and witnessing signatures in support of a referendum violates political speech rights under the First Amendment. The case, Williams v. Legere et al., concerns an attempt by Williamsburg resident Margaret Williams to […]

56% of Virginia abortions were performed via medication in 2021

By: - April 19, 2023

The use of medication abortion has been rising in Virginia over the past seven years, with more than half of all abortions in the state induced with pills rather than performed by surgery in 2021.  According to data from the Virginia Department of Health, 56% of the roughly 17,000 induced terminations of pregnancy — the […]

Lawsuit says Portsmouth sheriff, deputy forced detainees to expose genitals to prove menstruation

By: - April 11, 2023

A woman who was held at Portsmouth City Jail in May 2022 is suing the Portsmouth sheriff and a deputy over an incident in which she says the deputy forced her and at least one other female detainee to expose their genitals to prove they were menstruating. The woman, Danaesha Martin, said in the suit […]

Who might — and who won’t — be returning to the General Assembly next year

By: and - April 7, 2023

This story is an updated and expanded version of our General Assembly Tracker.  In Virginia’s never-sleepy political calendar, April 6 was a red-letter day: the last day for candidates affiliated with a party to file paperwork announcing their intention to run for office in the June primaries.  The primary filing deadline is always a watershed […]

As Virginia budget negotiations drag on, here’s what hangs in the balance

By: and - March 30, 2023

In normal years, Virginia’s budget plan is supposed to be pretty much done by April except for any late changes recommended by the governor. But for the second year in row, the politically split General Assembly is heading into spring under a cloud of uncertainty over when the budget will get done and what will […]

Federal court upholds Virginia stream-crossing permit for Mountain Valley Pipeline

By: - March 29, 2023

In a win for Mountain Valley Pipeline, a federal court on Wednesday struck down a challenge to a 2021 decision by Virginia’s State Water Control Board and Department of Environmental Quality to grant the project a critical stream-crossing permit, concluding state officials “did not simply ‘rubber stamp’” the request. “DEQ did not simply grant MVP’s […]

Board of Health members express concern about lack of state health commissioner

By: - March 24, 2023

Members of Virginia’s State Board of Health expressed worries Thursday about the ongoing lack of a state health commissioner after the General Assembly failed to reappoint former commissioner Dr. Colin Greene in February. “Several of us are very concerned about the delay in the appointment of a qualified leader,” said Board Vice Chair Wendy Klein […]

General Assembly tracker: Everyone who says they aren’t coming back next year

By: and - March 21, 2023

For updated info, see: Updated: Who might — and who won’t — be returning to the General Assembly next year As the 2023 legislative session draws to a close, a mounting number of delegates and senators are announcing this one will be their last. Twenty-eight lawmakers have said they don’t intend to run again this […]

Wegmans, business groups ask Virginia Supreme Court to overturn Hanover ruling

By: - March 21, 2023

Real estate, housing and business groups are backing a request by Wegmans for the Supreme Court of Virginia to reconsider a ruling that property owners near a massive distribution center under construction in Hanover have the right to challenge local approvals of the project in court.  “If not reconsidered,” the groups wrote in an amicus […]

No losses, no gains for Virginia farms and farmland in 2022

By: - March 19, 2023

The number of farms and farm acreage in Virginia remained flat in 2022 despite small overall decreases in both farms and farmland nationally, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.  According to the USDA’s most recent Farms and Land in Farms report, the total number of farms in Virginia remained stable at […]

Tyson still eligible for state incentives for Pittsylvania chicken plant despite Glen Allen closure

By: - March 14, 2023

Tyson Foods will continue to be eligible for millions in state economic development grants linked to a facility it’s constructing in Pittsylvania County despite its announcement it will close a major plant in Hanover County that will lead to the loss of 692 jobs, said the Virginia Economic Development Partnership.  In 2021, former Gov. Ralph […]

New study finds Central Appalachian miners at highest risk of dying from lung diseases

By: - February 28, 2023

Central Appalachian coal miners including those in Virginia are over eight times more likely than men in the general population to die from respiratory diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and black lung, according to recent research. “This higher mortality has also worsened over time with modern miners facing greater risk than their predecessors,” wrote […]