News

Bad week in court for two Virginia public officials and other news from around the state

BY: - July 19, 2018

The trials of two public officials, one current, one former, wrapped up this week. —In Portsmouth, a jury found Councilman Mark Whitaker guilty of falsifying signatures on financial documents but recommended he serve no jail time, the Virginian Pilot reports. —In Danville, former School Board Chairwoman Sharon Jones was sentenced to serve 60 days in […]

‘What recourse do you have other than to write the check?’ Lawmakers scrutinize ‘balance-billing.’

BY: - July 19, 2018

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for patients to protect themselves from surprise medical bills, and a Virginia legislative committee has the issue firmly in its crosshairs. As health care costs rise, patients are being asked to shoulder more of the burden. Some of that comes from a practice known as balance billing, when an out-of-network provider […]

Fox-hunting pens shut down

BY: - July 18, 2018

Six fox-hunting pens have been shut down in Virginia following a two-year investigation by Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s office. Nine people pleaded guilty to a range of charges, mostly misdemeanors but also a few felonies. “Fox penning can become unlawful when operators put illegal foxes and coyotes into a fenced-in area and allow dogs […]

Virginian-Pilot stonewalled on tax information

BY: - July 18, 2018

Virginian-Pilot reporter Ana Ley got an earful from Portsmouth’s elected commissioner of the revenue while she was trying to pry loose neighborhood-specific information on meal, beverage and retail tax revenues for a story published Wednesday. “You’ve taken up a lot of time – taxpayer dollars – trying to respond to your request because you want […]

Business down at Virginia Papa John’s amid fallout from founder’s slur

BY: - July 18, 2018

Alexandra Cline at the Richmond Times Dispatch reports that a Virginia Papa John’s franchiser with 21 locations in Richmond, Hampton Roads and Charlottesville is taking steps to distance itself from its corporate parent after the pizza company’s founder used a racial slur in a conference call. “We’re of all walks and creeds,” Matt Sanders, a […]

State board clears local jails of responsibility in 23 deaths but won’t release details of investigations

BY: - July 18, 2018

The Virginia Board of Corrections wrapped up its first batch of inmate death investigations Wednesday, voting unanimously to clear about a dozen jails in 23 deaths that occurred in 2017 and 2018. The new review process was established by the General Assembly last year in a bid to increase oversight of local jails following the […]

With annexation off the table, officials studying ways to prod struggling cities to merge with counties

BY: - July 18, 2018

Residents of Martinsville are slowly coming around to the idea that the best thing for the city might be for it to cease being a city at all. Off-and-on discussions have been ongoing for decades about whether the shrinking, 13,500-population city in southern Virginia should revert to town status and be absorbed by surrounding Henry […]

Local and state cops have already spent nearly $126,000 policing pipeline protests

BY: - July 18, 2018

Construction has begun on one of two major natural gas pipelines in Virginia and state and local officials have already reported spending almost $126,000 responding to protests aimed at halting work. It’s a number that is only likely to rise this year as construction of the Mountain Valley Pipeline progresses and work on the Atlantic […]

Follow the money

BY: - July 18, 2018

The Virginia Public Access Project has the breakdown of mid-year campaign finance reports that were due in by midnight Monday. With a whole year to go before the 2019 state Senate and House elections, Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment, a Republican from James City County, who has been in the Senate since 1992, had $843,596 […]

Virginia’s health care-acquired infection rates mirror national averages, but is that good enough?

BY: - July 18, 2018

Jimi Suwaiti doesn’t remember much of the first few months of 2017, but her mother, Sharon Blackwell, does. Blackwell watched her 48-year-old daughter shake in her hospital bed in Virginia Beach because the pain from a bacterial infection was so terrible, and hallucinate, in her feverish state, that people were coming into her room. Suwaiti […]

VCU president is highest-paid public college president in the state

BY: - July 17, 2018

The Chronicle of Higher Education released its annual ranking of executive compensation of the country’s public and private colleges universities over the weekend. The highest-paid public college president in the state, Virginia Commonwealth University President Michael Rao, came in at 43 on the list with a compensation package totaling $690,943. Behind him on the list […]

Members of Va. gun rights group call for leader’s resignation after he was tricked into recording training video for toddlers

BY: - July 17, 2018

Philip Van Cleave says he suspected he was being set up just five minutes into a multi-hour interview earlier this year with a supposed Israeli anti-terrorism expert. But the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, the state’s top gun advocacy group, said he pressed on, ultimately agreeing to record a firearms-training video for toddlers […]