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A BIG BIG BIG thank you to the NFOIC and the Knight Foundation for approving a grant for the Virginia Coalition for Open Government to continue upgrading and improving its website. The folks at Knight are consistently generous to we state open government coalitions, and the folks at NFOIC thoughtfully consider all applications and make the process very manageable.

Search items opened then shut

Charlottesville police filed documents Wednesday in circuit court that detail the results of her search of UVA lacrosse player George Huguely’s apartment Monday afternoon. The court documents that list the items seized from Huguely’s apartment was obtained by The Daily Progress on Wednesday, but was sealed by court order after a story about the documents was posted online.

Editorial: Public bodies' stony silence

A citizen talked to the Hampton council during its most recent meeting, but the situation he encountered seems to be common: governing bodies that don't engage the public during the public input parts of their meetings. There are exceptions, but generally neither council members nor staff respond. It can feel like an audience at Versailles, minus the elegance: Ordinary people beseech the powerful, who don't deign to explain themselves. It can feel cold. Daily Press editorial.

FOIA how-to: making a request

A how-to video on making a request under Virginia's Freedom of Information Act.

BHC reporter: How I got the story

“Underfoot, Out of Reach”

Daniel Gilbert

By Daniel Gilbert

In October 2008, I wrote a story about an energy conglomerate making conspicuous payments to private entities in Southwest Virginia run by influential figures. A source read that story and suggested I probe the Virginia Gas and Oil Board, an obscure state panel that rubber-stamped whatever the gas industry requested, and had diverted tens of millions of dollars in gas royalties into escrow accounts over the last 20 years.

Bristol Herald Courier's Pulitzer

BHC reporter explains how he got the story about the mismanagement of natural gas royalty payments to the people of Southwest Virginia.

Appeal in SSN case slated for March 23

Privacy advocate BJ Ostergren will be in court tomorrow defending a ruling last year that enables her to publish records with the Social Security numbers of state officials on her Web site. Ostergren, of Hanover County, posted records with the Social Security numbers of 20 state officials on her Web site to pressure them into keeping the numbers off government Web sites such as those maintained by court clerks. U.S. District Judge Robert E.

Sunshine Week Reception

Check out our photos from the Sunshine Reception, March 11, at the Virginia General Assembly Building. Thanks to VCOG, the Va. FOIA Council, the Va. Press Association and the Va. Association of Broadcasters for their co-sponsorship of the event.

Sure, here's your FOIA data, but...

When Harrisonburg-area citizen David Briggman asked his local school board for employee salary data, the school handed it over, as required by law. Then, they sent a letter to all school district employees to let them know. Legal? Absolutely. Good policy? Absolutely not.

FOIA in the courts

Friday in Warren County, a judge ruled that the Department of Social Services there did violate FOIA, but that the violations were "technical" and "minimal." The judge did award some attorneys' fees to the plaintiff. And earlier this week, a Prince William judge again rescheduled the hearing date on a FOIA case involving the county school system's visitor identification software.


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