In-Depth Reporting


Divided EducationDivided Education

More than 30 years ago, officials in the city of Lexington and Rockbridge County formed an unusual hybrid education system for children in the area. Each jurisdiction operates a separate K-8 school system. Beginning in ninth grade, all students attend Rockbridge County High School. The agreement expires in 2040, but formal talks must begin by 2035. Discussions could begin sooner, as Lexington’s school board transitions to an elected body from an appointed entity.

VMI: Part, Present, FutureVMI: Past, Present & Future

Cadets have not fought as a unit in a domestic war since the Civil War. But they now find themselves in the middle of the culture war over the term DEI, the abbreviation for diversity, equity and inclusion. The word equity is drawing the most fire and putting the nation’s oldest state-funded military college in the spotlight as it grapples with allegations of rampant racism and sexism.


Solar Farms in Rockbridge?Solar Farms in Rockbridge?

A pro-solar Virginia law makes rural Rockbridge County an attractive location for solar panel arrays where cows now graze. But homeowners around a proposed site are pushing back, and county planning officials are getting the message. The future of utility-scale solar in pastoral Rockbridge may hang on how this skirmish is resolved.

Goshen’s Water ProblemsGoshen’s Water Problems

The little town in the high north corner of Rockbridge County was known for its water. It sits on the headwaters of county’s beautiful Maury River and its mineral springs once drew the wealthy. But its Depression-era water system broke down this year, as it has before, and will again. With few resources and fewer than 400 residents, Goshen is looking for answers and isn’t sure where to look.

Pandemic HomebuyersPandemic Homebuyers

The stress of two years of Covid-19 made many from the D.C. area look for calmer and safer places to live. They were working from home anyway. Since good broadband was now available in most of rural Rockbridge County, many discovered the pleasures of owning a house here. Prices seemed low to them, but they are helping make the area a very hot housing market.

Rockbridge Food Insecurity


Rockbridge Food Insecurity

Poverty rates in Rockbridge County's cities and towns are higher than the national average, and most of the county is defined as a rural food desert. That means people are low income and lack access to affordable and nutritious food. It also means that over one-third of residents live more than 10 miles from the nearest grocery store.