Briefly Noted


Last month Coca-Cola announced it would stop selling about 200 brands by the end of the year, cutting its offerings in half. But fans of Virginia’s own Northern Neck Ginger Ale, one of the brands slated to go, are not taking it lying down. A “Save Northern Neck Ginger Ale” Facebook group was started when locals first heard of the coming drought. Normally produced and bottled at Coca-Cola Consolidated in Sandston, Virginia, the coronavirus and a shortage of cans caused production of the beverage to be temporarily suspended this past summer, according to News on the Neck. It may soon be gone forever.

The drink is sold primarily in Virginia’s Northern Neck, between the Potomac and Rappahannock rivers, but its reach extends much farther. Since 2008, a Minnesota resident has requested regular shipments of Northern Neck from her parents, who bring 6-7 cases whenever they visit. But Minnesota is nothing comparted with Doha, Qatar–some 7,000 miles from Virginia–where a teacher at the American School got one of his student’s parents to send him some as a gift. He has one can left, which he is saving.

The brand has been around since 1926, only acquired by Coca-Cola in 2001. At least three petitions are going around, with thousands of signatures. Even Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has gotten into the act, tweeting, Not so fast—I grew up with Northern Neck Ginger Ale and am among the many fans who would hate to see it fizzle out. We have reached out to @CocaCola and are doing everything we can to keep this popular Virginia staple on our shelves. Stay tuned….

VoxFairfax hopes that Northern Neck is rescued as was Elsie the Cow, while we note the loss this year of the Land o’ Lakes maiden and Uncle Ben. Their monikers and images were clearly out of date . . . but ginger ale?


A Virginia Wesleyan University dean whose recent Facebook post called Biden voters “ignorant, anti-American and anti-Christian” has resigned. He told all Biden supporters to “unfriend” him and accused them of corrupting not only the election but “our youth … [and] our country.” He added, “I have standards and you don’t meet them.”

Protests numbering over 1,000 erupted at the Virginia Beach school–from students, parents, and alumni–all calling on him to be fired. News outlets as far away as the United Kingdom picked up the story. And President Trump, in response, tweeted “Progress!”

Apparently he had second thoughts: He said he regrets the things he said and doesn’t really mean them. “I have friends and family who are Democrats, and I love them dearly,” the school newspaper quotes the dean as saying. “I have apologized on both accounts profusely. I set a poor example in that post of what a Christian should be. I know that God has forgiven me and already died for my sins. I hope others will forgive me as well.” 

God may forgive you, but no one else has to.


Virginia politicians face some of the loosest ethics rules in the U.S., according to a new index from the nonpartisan Coalition for Integrity. The SWAMP Index (“States With Anti-Corruption Measures for Public Officials”) tracks whether states have rules to thwart potential corruption and conflict of interests and punish lawmakers who disobey them. Those with the strongest ratings — Washington, Rhode Island, DC, and California — have ethics agencies that investigate wrongdoing, subpoena witnesses, and dole out punishments, and whose members are protected from politically-motivated removal.

According to the coalition’s director, a Virginia resident, little has changed since former Gov. Bob McDonnell’s corruption charges and subsequent conviction (later overturned by the US Supreme Court n 2018). More recently, Delegates Nick Freitas and Bob Good faced questions over inconsistencies in the assets they listed on state and federal disclosure forms. Lawmakers created the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council in 2014, but according to Del. Marcus Simon (D-Fairfax), it lacks teeth: “It tells delegates and senators and elected officials how to get away with accepting gifts — and where the lines are and what they can do — as opposed to investigating things they weren’t supposed to do.” 

When Democrats flipped control of the General Assembly in 2019, House Majority Leader Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria) told reporters they would put off acting on campaign finance and ethics changes until 2021, citing the issues’ complexity. Simon said the caucus still supported that goal, but argued that it would be more difficult in an abbreviated 30-day session, forced by Republicans.

Is this The Virginia Way?







Categories: Brief Cases, Issues, Local, State

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