Commentary

COMMENTARY

Roanoke offers public transit to hiking trails. Should more parts of Virginia do the same?

BY: - January 27, 2023

For many folks, the hardest part about hiking Roanoke County’s famous McAfee Knob isn’t its eight-mile length or its elevation change of nearly 1,700 feet. It’s finding a parking spot in the gravel lot at the trailhead. The pandemic pushed record levels of visitors to seek adventure and exercise in the great outdoors over the […]

COMMENTARY

Let’s keep the Shenandoah clean

BY: - January 27, 2023

By Mark Frondorf For years, herds of cattle wading and defecating in our rivers caused pollution and rendered the waters disgusting and, in some cases, dangerous for contact by those seeking recreation and drinking water. That’s why in 2020, Virginia passed legislation providing farmers with increased funding to fence herds of cattle out of streams […]

COMMENTARY

These bills could bring more clean energy to your community

BY: - January 26, 2023

Solar schools, climate resiliency, energy efficiency: Local governments are now involved in energy planning – whether they feel ready for it or not. Some localities have adopted climate goals that require them to look for ways to lower carbon emissions; others just want to save money on high energy bills. Virginia has chipped away at […]

COMMENTARY

Credit company’s laxness jacked up my info; I got a lousy 5 bucks

BY: - January 26, 2023

Equifax’s financial mea culpa arrived in my mailbox the other day. I eagerly tore open the envelope the credit reporting firm sent me.   Would the check be a cool $125, as the feds originally touted in helping reach the class-action settlement? Or, given the humongous number of claimants, something much, much less?    The company’s […]

COMMENTARY

The strange case of the pastor, the prosecutor, the police chief and the legislator

BY: - January 25, 2023

Mixing politics, law enforcement and religion is a difficult high-wire act under the best of circumstances. Add in a sex sting operation and you’re toeing the wire over the Grand Canyon without a net or safety harness in the middle of a blizzard. Chesterfield County’s commonwealth’s attorney, Stacey Davenport, should know that. A lurid, real-life […]

COMMENTARY

Protect Virginia’s election officials

BY: - January 25, 2023

By Chris Piper Those who watched the January 6 committee’s public hearings will remember a mother and daughter who served as election officials in Georgia who were relentlessly harassed and received numerous death threats, the result of false information spread about them when they were simply doing their job.  As someone who has worked in […]

COMMENTARY

Reluctant, distrustful witnesses are key to solving homicides

BY: - January 23, 2023

Kelvin Wright, the recently retired police chief of Chesapeake, remains bewildered by the slaying of Daevon Shaquille Miller outside a restaurant-nightclub several years ago. Scores of people witnessed a murder and stayed quiet – except for posting photos of the crime on the internet.  “Well over 100 people were there,” Wright told me this week, […]

COMMENTARY

Behind bars: Virginia jails price gouging

BY: - January 23, 2023

From The Virginia Mercury: Del. Irene Shin last week introduced a bill to limit the price markups and fees charged to inmates and their families for goods and services purchased behind bars.

COMMENTARY

Utility shut-offs harm vulnerable Virginians

BY: - January 19, 2023

By Rev. Sherman Z. Logan Virginians will continue to face the threat of utility shut-offs as the height of winter approaches, with low temperatures and severe weather events worsened by the negative impacts of climate change. With Del. Irene Shin introducing House Bill 2283 in this year’s General Assembly session, this is a timely opportunity […]

COMMENTARY

Attacks on Virginia’s climate laws are front and center at the General Assembly

BY: - January 18, 2023

Every year I do a round-up of climate and energy bills at the start of the General Assembly session. This year, as expected, Republicans continue their assault on the hallmark legislation passed in 2020 and 2021 committing Virginia to a zero-carbon economy by 2050. In addition, this year features the usual assortment of bills doing […]

COMMENTARY

Why are Virginia counties regulating starter homes out of existence?

BY: - January 18, 2023

Five years ago, before the pandemic-driven demand for more space and the en masse entrance of millenials to the housing market, the median home sales price in the commonwealth sat at $290,000. Last year that figure hit $390,000 — a $100,000 jump over a period during which Virginians’ median household income actually shrank by $2,975, […]

COMMENTARY

IRA offers big incentives for tax-exempt organizations to invest in renewable energy

BY: - January 17, 2023

By Eric Hurlocker In August of last year, Congress unexpectedly passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), after Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, got on board with a slimmed-down version of “Build Back Better,” a bill he opposed in its original form due to its size. While it is named the Inflation Reduction Act, in large […]