Why Floyd County burned bright for Bernie

BY: - March 6, 2020

FLOYD — On Super Tuesday, only three Virginia localities voted for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders over former Vice President Joe Biden in Virginia’s Democratic presidential primary: Charlottesville, Harrisonburg and Floyd County. For observers, the first two make sense: Charlottesville and Harrisonburg are home to the University of Virginia and James Madison University, respectively, and Sanders […]


Federal tax incentives for investment in economically disadvantaged areas find more traction in urban Virginia

BY: - February 24, 2020

In December of 2017, a Republican-controlled Congress made good on freshman President Donald Trump’s pledge to overhaul the U.S. tax code. It gave wealthy people and their businesses generous tax breaks and put the nation’s growing debt on steroids. Drafters of the new tax overhaul sought to incentivize a major infusion of capital into designated […]


The ‘city that cares’ is now Virginia’s second-largest

BY: - February 21, 2020

I bet you can name the largest city in many states across America. But what about the second largest? California’s is easy: San Diego trails Los Angeles. North Carolina? Many know Raleigh, the state capital, is No. 2 behind Charlotte.  What about Virginia? Spoiler alert: The city of Norfolk, long the second city to the […]

‘Raging granny’ faces music for pipeline protest: ‘Happy that I did it’

BY: - January 14, 2020

CHRISTIANSBURG — Activist and self-identified “raging granny” Glenna “Duff” Benjamin traveled to Montgomery County in September to lock herself to a sideboom pipelayer and block construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline for five hours. On Monday, she returned to face the consequences of her act of non-violent civil disobedience. The 76-year-old Benjamin pleaded not guilty […]

Rural school districts face tough discussions on consolidation

BY: - January 8, 2020

CLIFTON FORGE — Alleghany County Sheriff Dale Muterspaugh went on a crusade in 2004, pledging his department’s resources to find the primary victim of a massive vandalism case at the high school. In July, dive teams searching the bottom of Pike Pond found what they were looking for: the Brackman Cup, symbol of the fierce […]


‘Law-abiding’ gun owners say they won’t abide any new laws

BY: - December 4, 2019

The irony is lost on them, apparently. For years, as they successfully argued to block new gun restrictions in the GOP-controlled General Assembly, gun rights groups talked about the horrific injustice that would be perpetrated on “law-abiding” gun owners by the passage of any new gun law, including the onerous imposition that they be required […]

Do Democrats have a rural future?

BY: - October 30, 2019

Rural Virginia has swung hard for Republicans over the last decade, driven by backlash to President Barack Obama, an emigration of more educated residents to urban and suburban areas, and a realignment in culture and voting patterns. So why is a Democrat in exurban Northern Virginia running on the campaign slogan, “The Future is Rural”? […]

Amazon embarks on listening tours across Virginia

BY: - October 22, 2019

ST. PAUL — Amazon officials got a tour of southwestern Virginia on Monday, conducting a listening session with Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, regional lawmakers, and local community leaders before mounting ATVs to explore the nearby Spearhead Trails off-road network. Ardine Williams, Amazon’s vice president of workforce development, said the listening session is just one of […]

In Southwest Virginia, a ‘Trump Republican’ seeks a local office

BY: - October 15, 2019

CHRISTIANSBURG — The stark black-and-white sign stands out, even amid the campaign cavalcade of color that, along with the changing leaves, marks October in Virginia.  It’s not the absence of the traditional red or blue that grabs the eye so much as the wording: “Elect Dr. Mark J. Matney — Trump Republican for Commissioner of […]

Seeking ‘quick wins’ for a distressed region: New economic initiative aimed at Southwest Va.

BY: - September 17, 2019

Southwestern Virginia lawmakers are taking another swing at creating new economic growth in a part of the commonwealth that has lagged far behind Northern Virginia, metro Richmond and Hampton Roads in job creation. They were in Abingdon last week to announce InvestSWVA, a public-private partnership that Will Payne, the project lead and managing partner of […]

Enviva Southampton biomass plant

DEQ calls for stricter pollution controls at Enviva wood pellet plant, but some environmentalists say enforcement is overdue

BY: - September 12, 2019

FRANKLIN — In the old mill town of Franklin, the streets smell of gasoline and fast food, peanuts by the millions and wood — mostly wood. To some, it’s the smell of money, an indicator of the industry that keeps the local economy going. To others, it’s a reminder of the hazardous air pollution that […]

Which Virginia localities rely most on traffic fines for revenue?

BY: - September 2, 2019

Emporia is a well-known speed trap, dreaded by heavy-footed drivers who might think the city near the border of North Carolina funds its operations entirely through the punishment of too-fast drivers. But 124 miles away, there’s a town that relies on bad drivers’ traffic fines and similar payments more than Emporia: Eastville, a 200-person town […]