THE OTHER VIRGINIA

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 […]

After 20 years, RAM Clinic to leave Wise

BY: - July 12, 2019

Remote Area Medical, which has provided free dental, medical, vision and veterinary care to people at a yearly clinic in Wise County for two decades, says starting next year it will pull out of the area to serve “other communities in need across the United States.” Just last month, more than 1,000 people were treated […]

Neither unemployed nor allowed to work: Virginia’s Blackjewel miners look for relief

BY: - July 8, 2019

WISE — One week after the nation’s sixth-largest coal producer filed for bankruptcy, the almost 500 Virginia miners sent home from work and deprived of their last paychecks still have no answers — and no relief. Information comes only through social media, say miners from Blackjewel, LLC’s 10 Virginia facilities. Their last paychecks, issued June […]

Solar program attempts to bridge rifts left by compressor station fight in Union Hill

BY: - July 2, 2019

By Elizabeth McGowan UNION HILL, Va. — Richard Walker never misses an opportunity to broadcast what he calls his $64,000 question. “How can we have a community solar program here where we save everybody money?” the burly 61-year-old boomed to an audience of more than 30 renewable energy enthusiasts gathered in Union Grove Missionary Baptist […]

A year after Medicaid expansion, hundreds still flock to rural medical clinic in Southwest Virginia

BY: - July 1, 2019

WISE — Nina Black has been coming to Remote Area Medical’s clinic in Wise for at least 12 of the 20 years it’s been running. This year was different: Black was one of about 290,000 Virginians covered under the state’s new Medicaid expansion, making 2019 the first time she’s had insurance coverage in years. “I’ve […]

Elk reintroduction ignites backlash in Southwest Virginia

BY: - June 30, 2019

WISE — For most people, spotting an elk in the wild sparks excitement and awe.  That’s especially so in southwestern Virginia, where elk have only recently been reintroduced after an absence of more than 150 years.  For farmers and cattlemen, however, the sight of elk inspires something else: fear and dread. “If they are allowed […]

‘They care about corporations:’ Landowners demonstrate pipeline project’s toll

BY: - June 12, 2019

WIRTZ — Little Creek ran chocolate-milkshake brown, surging with flood water as it splashed over its banks just feet from where lengths of the Mountain Valley Pipeline lay mounted on wooden blocks and submerged in ditches. Two dozen people trudged through the mud and muck, surveying what was once a key pasture for Four Corners […]

Solar is powering part of Danville’s resurgence

BY: - June 10, 2019

DANVILLE — This former tobacco and textile town’s oldest and newest symbols of economic prosperity soaked up sunlight on a recent early summer afternoon. Tobacco seedlings stretched for the sky in the mid-90s heat, same as they have here for 300 years. Today, that legacy crop is supplemented by another kind of farm — acres […]

The Virginia House of Delegates met Thursday to discuss redistricting, but didn't get far. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury - Aug. 30, 2018)

A Southwest Virginia primary streetfight mirrors Republican divisions statewide

BY: - June 7, 2019

FLOYD — Voters in Southwest Virginia’s open 4th House District will get a new delegate this fall, with a Republican contest that’s turned into a streetfight ahead of next week’s primary, and a Democratic candidate waiting in the wings. The winner of the Republican nomination, contested by third-generation candidate William Wampler III and Russell County […]

Will they be built? Virginia’s contentious pipeline projects face major legal hurdles

BY: - May 29, 2019

FLOYD — Warm weather has brought renewed activity to the Mountain Valley Pipeline in western Virginia, but the project and its equally contentious sibling, the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, still face unresolved legal and regulatory hurdles that leave their completion uncertain. This year has seen new protests on the ground, as well as an escalation in […]

Trump Country sees majority of new enrollees under Va.’s Medicaid expansion

BY: - May 28, 2019

A majority of the roughly 280,000 people who now have health care under Virginia’s expansion of Medicaid live in localities won by President Donald Trump, who campaigned on eliminating federal funding for expansion by repealing the Affordable Care Act. In 60 cities and counties, more than five percent of the population has gained health coverage […]

One vote from becoming ‘New York and California:’ Southwest GOP races offer insight into 2019 strategy

BY: - May 8, 2019

GATE CITY — Many Americans are closely following the emerging race between President Donald Trump and a large field of Democratic challengers, but when Del. Todd Pillion told a group of Republicans that this election “is easily the most important that we’ve seen in a generation,” he wasn’t talking about 2020. Instead, Pillion, R-Washington County, […]