• Last chance to register to vote

    Americans have perhaps never been as ideologically divided as they are in this election season.

    If that statement sounds familiar, it’s because you heard it during the 2012 election. Probably in 2008, too.

    Now, that divide has widened to a chasm that threatens to swallow up rational political discourse. As the two sides pull further apart on opposing sides of the abyss, it can be hard to even hear each other.

    Amid all the static, it can be easy to forget something vitally important — going out to vote on Nov. 8.

  • Festivals celebrate local character, bring communities together

    It’s that magical time of the year again: the leaves are changing, the temperature is dropping, our tasters are set for holiday treats and the streets are lined with vendors, performers and other fun things for families to enjoy just about every weekend.

  • Candidates give up privacy when seeking White House

    Hillary Clinton’s health isn’t a private matter anymore. Neither are her finances.

    Same goes for Donald Trump.

    It’s a fact of life in American politics today that voters expect a level of disclosure that would violate good taste, if not privacy laws, were it expected from anyone other than the men and women who want to be president.

    Too bad; these people are running for the highest office in the land, and that demands the highest level of disclosure.

  • Grayson invests in future of youth

    It’s not often in local government when you can save money by offering people more services.

    But Grayson County has wisely chosen to invest in the future of its youth as both a cost-saving measure and an effort to tackle social issues at the source. The county is being proactive with its at-risk youth and families, rather than responding later when the problems have become more pervasive — and more expensive.

  • Politics has poisoned debate over felon voting

    Since the beginning of the battle about automatically restoring the voting rights of 200,000 Virginia felons, the fight has taken on an unnecessary partisan flavor.

    Republican leaders have pointedly accused Gov. Terry McAuliffe of playing politics with the voting rolls to help Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, essentially calling his articulated motives a lie.

    Virginia is one of only four states that continues to permanently bar felons from enjoying full constitutional rights, a relic of a divisive time in Virginia history.

  • We count on the mail

    Chip Hutcheson is president of the National Newspaper Association and publisher of The Times Leader in Princeton, Ky.

    I got the mail today.

    A couple of bills. A greeting card. Some catalogs. A newspaper. One package that my wife grabbed right away. (Wonder what that was?)

    Lately, it occurs to me how completely I take for granted that I will get the mail tomorrow.

  • Voters, educate yourselves

    It is now official: we have our nominees for what could easily be called one of the most controversial presidential elections in our history; and the “Race for the White House,” as CNN so eloquently puts it, has begun.

    What the candidates do between now and November will be crucial in determining who better earns the trust of the majority of the country; that is, if we pay close enough attention.

  • Faith community's mission is to be more inclusive

    Editor’s note: This letter from the Carroll County Ministerial Association was read by the Rev. Amanda Hatfield Moore at a prayer vigil in Galax on July 24 held by Hearts United, which seeks to break down barriers between people and promote unity and peace. The movement began locally, in the wake of police shootings of black suspects around the country, and recent attacks on police officers.

    To the People of Carroll County:

  • Who will protect and serve police?

    Every law enforcement officer who buckles into a patrol car today does so with a heavy heart.

    Everyone who pins on a badge will do so with a mixed sense of frustration and exhaustion, anger and exasperation.

    These men and women have an incredibly difficult job. “Protect and serve” may be the mission, but the responsibilities we place on their shoulders are greater than many of us can imagine.

  • Information isn't flowing freely

    Dick Hammerstrom, a retired editor, is vice president of the Virginia Coalition for Open Government and chairman of the FOIA Committee of the Virginia Press Association. This column first appeared in the Free-Lance Star of Fredericksburg.

    Gov. Terry McAuliffe did not list transparency as a major theme in his campaign for the top elected office in the state. Of course, as any governor-elect would, he told reporters that he planned to run “an open and transparent administration.”