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Columns

  • Reflecting on violence in Charlottesville

    By Scott Jackson-Ricketts, Independence

    It came as no surprise to me that clashes between white separatists and those offended by their ideologies [on Aug. 12] resulted in violence, including the death of one counter-protestor. I am also aware of the two police deaths associated with the helicopter crash. All three of these deaths were unnecessary and a most unfortunate side effect of our collective failure to recognize our common humanity.

  • Hate, not heritage, in the streets of Charlottesville

    Kerry Dougherty is a columnist for The Virginian-Pilot.

    One dead. Dozens injured.

    It’s time to stop calling what transpired in the streets of Charlottesville on August 12 a white supremacist “rally” and say what it really was:

    A riot.

    A brutal clash between protesters and counter-protesters swinging clubs and baseball bats, throwing bottles and spewing expletives.

    And finally, a car plowing into a crowd of pedestrians that left one person dead and 19 injured.

  • Saving our poorest localities

    James W. “Will” Morefield (R-Tazewell) represents the 3rd District in the Virginia House of Delegates. He plans to submit legislation to the General Assembly that would exempt all residents and corporations from personal and corporate income tax for a period of 10 years in some of Virginia’s poorest counties.

  • Fries building town into fun, welcoming destination

    The recent success of the first-ever LandCare Rocks the River outdoor event in Fries is just one notable example of how the little riverside community has stepped up its level of appeal to tourists and locals alike.

    Organizers expected around 150 people for the LandCare celebration, which was put on to celebrate our many local, natural resources used for livelihood, as well as recreation (the river, the trail, etc.) The final total not only met this goal, but went over by 500 more.

  • Legislators compromised by campaign cash

    It’s a little mystery that Galax-area voters have almost figured out, but not quite. Why are realtors, the health industry, beer wholesalers and bankers, coal operators and electric utilities shoving all that cash into the Virginia legislature?

    “Puzzles plus money produce the view that the money explains the puzzles,” legal scholar Lawrence Lessig wrote. “In a line: We don’t trust our government.”

  • Don't let political burnout keep you from staying informed

    It has been eight months since the events of last year’s presidential election, and probably even longer since most of us have made it through a quiet morning of checking emails and reading news articles without seeing something questionable related to our nation’s politics.

    There’s no doubt, no matter which side you take in the argument, that our nation is divided right now; and those who are not still angry towards either the left or right side (or both sides) may have fallen into a bit of a slump when it comes to staying informed.

  • An unpopular move that saved lives

    Four years ago, Galax made a move that was so unpopular that many residents wrote letters and called city officials begging them not to pass such an unfair ordinance.

    From the public outcry, you’d have thought city council banned bacon or legalized kicking puppies.

    No, Galax lowered speed limits on some roads.

    In 2013, the Galax City Council, based on Police Chief Rick Clark’s recommendation, lowered the speed limit on a section of Stuart Drive from 45 mph to 35 mph.

  • At last, Virginia addresses backlog of untested rape kits

    More than 3,000 rape kits — some up to 25 years old — are finally being tested in Virginia in an effort to determine if any of the cases can be solved even at so late a date.

    Attorney General Mark Herring announced earlier this month that a $2 million federal grant will pay for testing nearly 1,250 kits that were collected from 2014 to 2016, but were never sent to a lab for analysis.

  • Attention to government should start at local level

    In the past year, the subject of politics has been at the forefront of almost everyone’s minds… or at least, it is certainly a topic people can’t seem to get enough of.

    But in spite of this growing trend, there is still a strong sense of disconnect in attention spans for local politics.

  • AHCA would lower healthcare costs

    By Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Salem)

    This month, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act to repeal Obamacare and start a health care reform process to return power to the states, drive down costs, and offer options to American families.