COMMENTARY

A year ago today, stressed, sleep-deprived, picking over the wording of my introductory column and anxious about our roster of stories, I waited for the Mercury's website go live.I had left a 13-year career in newspapers for the new world of online-only, nonprofit news, and, as I contemplated the...
Ever since Mountain Valley Pipeline first proposed to gouge a 303-mile long, 125-foot wide scar across the heart of the Appalachian Mountains, countless experts have warned of the uncontrollable erosion the project would provoke. These warnings have since proven to be well founded: We have witnessed sediment-laden water flowing off...
It was a little more than a year before he’d lose Virginia and win the presidency that Donald Trump promised a crowd at Richmond International Raceway, “We’re going to repeal Obamacare, and replace it with something that’s going to be terrific.” Today, nearly four years later, there is no replacement...
On one side of Bank Street, the chant was "Floor votes now." On the other, a parody version: "More guns now."For most of the late morning Tuesday, the divide over gun regulation at Virginia's Capitol was literal and physical.Nothing that happened later in the day bridged the chasm.Republicans voted...
Actions by students at two Virginia schools – turning a spotlight on the crumbling conditions of their individual facilities– should shame local and state officials to provide the necessary money to rectify the problems.You would think school administrators would herald the initiative by the teenagers, who, in the best...
Back at my first full-time newspaper job, I wrote a story about a citizen's police academy program, the kind that's common in communities around the country and is intended to give regular people a better understanding of police training and procedures.Part of it involved a shooting simulator, an attempt...
Hanover County is my home.At least seven generations of my family were born and raised here; freedmen founded our community’s church 151 years ago. I was horrified and disgusted to witness the tail end of a small Ku Klux Klan gathering 10 minutes from my house on Saturday....
By Charlotte SilvermanAs a scientist, researcher and founder of my own start-up, I know how important it is to make decisions about public health and national security that are based on sound science. Unfortunately, despite overwhelming evidence that offshore drilling threatens Virginia’s natural environment, health and military operations, Congressman...
By Jennifer LadinoWhen I took a post-college job as a seasonal ranger at Grand Teton National Park 23 years ago, I noticed right away that my “Smokey Bear” hat carried some serious emotional baggage. As I later wrote in my book, “Reclaiming Nostalgia: Longing for Nature in American Literature,” park visitors...
Here’s one set of eyes and ears that won’t be fastened on President Donald Trump’s speech on Thursday at the Lincoln Memorial.The aural and visual blackout has nothing to do with politics or ideology, though Trump’s policies and politics are 18th century leftovers, at best. Everything a president says,...