VaNews: Ride Sharing Challenges, Controlling the Deer Population

VPAPnewInternet based ride sharing is presenting a competitive challenge for Virginia taxi operators and a regulatory one for the General Assembly. And, one Northern Virginia county is looking at a controversial idea for controlling its deer population. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link.

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Weekend Rallies and Responses to Rolling Stone’s UVA Article

The Phi Kappa Psi house voluntarily closed after Rolling Stone released the allegations. Photo by Hawes Spencer.

The Phi Kappa Psi house voluntarily closed after Rolling Stone released the allegations. Photo by Hawes Spencer.

Four people were arrested over the weekend – charged with trespassing during protests at the University of Virginia.  Students and faculty expressed continued outrage following reports of gang rapes at a fraternity on campus some years ago, and UVA President Teresa Sullivan banned activities at about 60 frats and sororities through the end of the year.

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Virginia’s Uninsured Children

Children Health Care CC

Photo: Creative Commons

A Virginia child advocacy organization has a new take on “No Child Left Behind”—that is, making sure all children in Virginia have health insurance. And while that IS possible right now, Voices for Virginia’s Children says that could change in the very near future if federal lawmakers don’t act.  Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports.

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Rally At UVA: Calls to End Sexual Violence

UVA rally PhotoAbout 700 people rallied at the University of Virginia responding to reports of sexual violence on campus. Sandy Hausman was there and filed this report.

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‘Tie One on for Safety’ Drunk Driving Prevention Campaign

State Police Superintendent Steven Flaherty

State Police Superintendent Steven Flaherty

By law, a motorist who is believed to be driving under the influence will be arrested. But today, State Police joined Mothers Against Drunk Driving and other organizations to appeal to drivers as parents, siblings, significant others, and humans to save lives by simply handing over the keys and finding a designated driver if they’ve been drinking.

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Immigration Debate Heating Up in Congress

Capitol Dome, Washington DCPresident Obama’s executive order on immigration is sparking a heated debate in Congress that could lead to a government shutdown. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story..

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Discussion on EPA Proposals Continues with Rallies in Richmond

EPAlogo1-626x3821Dozens of people rallied outside the State Capitol yesterday to support tougher new EPA proposals for electricity-generating plants. At the same time, Virginia lawmakers were hearing from stakeholders—and trying to determine how the state could be effected if the rules are adopted. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, there were a lot of questions about reports that residents could be paying $300 a year more if the proposals are adopted – because some power plants could shut down.

After hearing from stakeholders about proposed EPA rules to reduce power plant carbon emissions, Virginia lawmakers expressed concern about estimates that the state’s utilities will have to spend billions of dollars on improvements and ultimately pass those costs on to consumers. But supporters of the regulations say that lawmakers aren’t seeing the whole picture.

For instance, Cale Jaffe with the Southern Environmental Law Center says based on the credit for plans already underway— including maintenance of Virginia’s nuclear fleet that is “at risk” of being retired—new gas plants, and coal plant retirements, Virginia will be nearly 80% compliant with the EPA’s emissions-reduction goal for the Commonwealth:   And Jaffe counters the argument that investments in alternative energy sources would cost consumers 25 to 30% more.

Jaffe says 100% compliance with the EPA’s goal is achievable with investments in energy efficiency and renewables.  He adds that Virginia has a great opportunity to leverage the Clean Power Plan into the creation of solar, wind, and energy-efficiency jobs.

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Securing Student Data

220px-Tom_Rust_VAAs Target, Home Depot, the U.S. Post Office and other entities find it difficult to protect consumer information, Virginia lawmakers are wondering how public schools will guard student data as they transition into electronic instruction, testing, and information storage. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the Joint Commission on Technology and Science aims to close the gaps in state laws and policies that might inadvertently allow the use of student data for unauthorized purposes.

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Commission on Youth Address School Behavior Issues

Delegate Richard Bell (top row, third from right) and VA  Commission on YouthVirginia schools are increasingly confronted with youth who exhibit challenging behavior. And while schools sometimes use physical restraint and seclusion to de-escalate a crisis, the state does not have any explicit laws or regulations that govern their use. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, that concerns the Commission on Youth, which is recommending legislation to require the Board of Education to formulate new rules and restrictions.

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Red Sun Farms Means Business in the NRV

Red_Sun_02It’s harvest time for tomatoes in the New River Valley. That’s not as strange as it sounds because these tomatoes are growing inside a huge greenhouse in the New River Valley.

The new venture promises to bring jobs as well as more locally grown tomatoes to the region.  Robbie Harris reports.

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VaNews: Biking in Snow, School Bus Driver Controversy

VPAPnewBicycle commuters in Arlington will have an ally in their local government this winter when snow threatens to slow them down. And there’s controversy in Portsmouth after the city denied bonuses for school bus drivers who worked extra on a day when many of their colleagues stayed home to protest low pay.

Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link.

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Integrity & Public Confidence in State Government

Governor McAuliffe with Commission Members

Governor McAuliffe with Commission Members

Although they’re not quite final, the Governor’s Commission on Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government is just about ready to submit its recommendations to Governor McAuliffe to meet his December 1st deadline.  But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, one of the lingering issues is how to change the process for determining legislative districts and prevent gerrymandering.

 

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Predicting Party Affiliation

100-ways-republicans-are-just-like-democrats-29650It might be difficult to tell how someone affiliates politically just by looking at them, but an international team of scientists has come close. They’ve found a way to predict a person’s party of preference by how they react to gruesome images – with 95 to 98 percent accuracy.

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Political Analyst: Voters Send the Message

Tommie01

Bob Holsworth

Eric Cantor loses the number two spot in the House of Representatives, former Governor Bob McDonnell is convicted on corruption charges, and Mark Warner almost loses his U.S. Senate seat after one term.  Political analyst Bob Holsworth told social studies teachers at a Civics Summit that if he had predicted several years ago what happened to Virginia’s most popular politicians this year, he probably would not have been invited to speak.  But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, he offered some enlightenment about the Commonwealth’s recent electoral politics.

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Comments from Virginians on EPA’s Clean Power Plan Stack Up

EPAlogo1-626x3821Virginians still have until December 1st to submit their thoughts to the EPA on its proposed Clean Power Plan. One environmental organization says it has already collected more than 210,000 comments from residents who support the proposals to speed up the elimination of the carbon footprint here. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the group also says if people are really environmentally conscious, they don’t have to wait for the government to take action.

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Lawmakers Weigh Penalties for Underage Sexting

Credit: Creative Commons

Credit: Creative Commons

The State Crime Commission is wrestling with how to craft balanced legislation that addresses the growing problem of underage teens who take sexually explicit images of themselves and send them to others. The members’ concern is heightened by some widely published cases—including a Louisa County “sexting” ring involving 100 teens and 1,000 images of minors posted on Instagram. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, they’re also concerned that the penalties in existing laws designed for adult child predators may be too steep for teens.

 

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General Assembly Preview

First day of the legislative sessionVirginia lawmakers are going back to the grind to finish business they tried to complete, not once, not twice, but now for the third time this year.  They will do so when both houses of the General Assembly convene later today and tonight.  The state’s ongoing revenue shortfall will necessitate more tough decisions not long after that.

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VaNews: Marijuana in DC, but not in the VA State Forensics Lab

VPAPnewThe Virginia state forensics lab says it no longer has the resources to process drug evidence in misdemeanor marijuana cases. Also, Northern Virginia residents may soon be able to cross the Potomac and light up a joint without breaking the law if DC voters have their way. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link.

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Gillespie Concedes Senate Race

Ed GillespieWith a concession speech in Northern Virginia by Republican Ed Gillespie, the U.S. Senate race is officially over, and Democrat Mark Warner will be entering his second term as a U.S. Senator.  More from Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil.

 

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Challenges Remain: Housing Options for the Disabled

familyIt does not appear that Virginia lawmakers have a clear idea of how to house and treat thousands of people who are developmentally and intellectually disabled after the federal government ordered four of the five state facilities to close as part of a settlement with the Department of Justice. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the debate isn’t about whether it’s right to house them within their communities, but whether the state can pay for adequate facilities to fit all their needs.

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Property Rights Dispute Continues

The Boneta Bill www.youtube.com

The Boneta Bill
http://www.youtube.com

The Virginia Outdoors Foundation has agreed to act as a mediator in a property rights dispute between a Fauquier County farmer and the Piedmont Environmental Council.  Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports that depending on the outcome, some farmers say the case could have a negative impact on the state’s conservation easements program and create a hostile environment between landowners and government entities.

 

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Sen. Warner’s Image Could Suffer, Says Analyst

Sen. Mark Warner Archive Photo/Creative Commons

Sen. Mark Warner
Archive Photo/Creative Commons

Though it’s not yet official Democrat Mark Warner appears to have narrowly won re­election to the U­S Senate in a contest that was much closer than anticipated. Even in apparent victory, Warner’s national brand may have been tarnished by his election night struggle against Republican Ed Gillespie. Fred Echols reports.

 

 

 

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Virginia Film Festival 2014 Opens

Virginia Film Festival 2014For 27 years in Charlottesville, the Virginia Film Festival has provided an annual showcase of movies, everything from independent films to classics to documentaries, along with panel discussions and other special events.  Not to mention an opportunity for local folks to rub elbows with some big names in film. Andrew Jenner reports.

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Republicans Griffith and Goodlatte Reclaim 9th and 6th Districts

220px-Morgan_Griffith,_Official_Portrait,_112th_Congress_B

In the 6th Congressional District, Bob Goodlatte beat Libertarian Will Hammer and Independent Green candidate Elaine Hildebrandt to win a 12th term. The Democrats did not field a candidate in this race. In the 9th Congressional District, in southwest Virginia, Republican Morgan Griffith bested Independent William Carr to win a third term and the Democrats did not field a candidate in this race either.

 

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Gillespie Holding Out for a Red Virginia

ed+gillespie+mark+warner+debate+100714Election night was a nail-biter for incumbent Democratic U.S. Senator Mark Warner, who had been expected to coast to victory. His badly outspent Republican challenger, Ed Gillespie, defied ALL of the polls leading up to election day—and took the lead throughout the evening until Fairfax County’s vote totals were finally reported. As Anne Marie Morgan reports, the wave that swept Republicans into the majority in the U.S. Senate nearly engulfed Virginia.

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Warner Ready to Suit Up for Another Term, Gillespie not Ready to Concede

election2014Virginia Senator Mark Warner is claiming victory in his reelection contest, while his Republican challenger Ed Gillespie isn’t conceding. Capital Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story.

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Dave Brat Wins the 7th; Vows to Pursue Republican Policies

pic_giant_010614_SM_Eric-Cantors-Challenger-From-the-RightAs expected, Republican Dave Brat – who stunned the pundits by unseating Eric Cantor in the GOP primary – was victorious in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District. It’s solidly Republican, and Brat won more than 60% of the vote. Sandy Hausman has more on that story.

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Get Out The Vote

VA21 Members

VA21 Members

In a mid term election, the goal is to ‘get out the vote.’ As Robbie Harris tells us, one demographic is stepping up its “G-O-T-V’ efforts this time around.

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Election 2014

VoteHereVirginia voters head to the polls today to elect a U.S. Senator, their member of the U.S. House of Representatives, and a number of local offices in various localities. They also must make a decision on a state constitutional amendment—whether to authorize local property tax exemptions for the surviving spouses of military members who were killed in action. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, voters must also present a valid photo ID when they go to cast their ballots.

 

More information on acceptable forms of identification and ALL of the candidates on the ballot can be found on the Virginia Department of Elections website at: elections.virginia.gov. Voters who don’t bring photo IDs can still cast provisional ballots, then present valid IDs to their local registrars by Friday at noon.

 

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2014 Election Spending Down from 2012

Credit CNN

Credit CNN

Virginia’s Senate race hasn’t attracted the outside spending it did in 2012. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the details…

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Unregulated Daycare Centers & Traffic Frustration Focus of VaNews from VPAP

VPAPnewThe Virginia General Assembly is likely to consider new rules for unregulated day care centers next year…and commuters who make the difficult slog through Interstate 66 gridlock in Northern Virginia are using license plates to vent their frustration. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.   More now from Fred Echols.

 

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Liberterian Candidate for Senate: Robert Sarvis

sarvis_robSome contend his campaign stole votes from the Ken Cuccinelli for Governor campaign last year.  And many wonder why Libertarian candidate Robert Sarvis is now running for the U.S. Senate when his poll numbers pale compared to his Democratic and Republican rivals. But in a conversation with Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil, Sarvis explains his focus isn’t on winning, it’s on branding.

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Protected: Spotlight on WVTF/RADIO IQ

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State Agency Criticizes Proposed EPA Rules

Seal_of_the_State_Corporation_Commission_of_VirginiaProposed Environmental Protection Agency rules aimed at reducing carbon emissions, generating more energy from renewables, and addressing global warming are getting a cold reception from one of the state’s most influential agencies. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, while environmental groups support the regulations, others contend that they’re much too burdensome, unrealistic, and aggressive.

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Wildlife Center of Virginia: Unusual Auction

Wildlife03The Wildlife Center of Virginia is one-of-a-kind – a privately funded medical facility for injured animals from across the Commonwealth. To make ends meet, the Waynesboro Center will host a fundraiser and auction featuring some surprising items. Sandy Hausman has that story.

 

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Out-of-State Online Learning Reciprocity

nc-sara-approved-logo-mdImagine being a Virginia resident obtaining an Ivy League education at a school such as Harvard—without having to pay all the costs associated with an out-of-state college experience. While that may not be possible at that specific university right now, a new state law authorizing on-line education reciprocity agreements between Virginia and other states could make that a reality in the near future. Tommie McNeil explains.

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Insanity Bid? Experts See Bleak Options for Matthew

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew

Experts suggest that Jesse L. Matthew Jr., the man authorities link to the Hannah Graham and Morgan Harrington cases, stands no chance of bail and little chance of a life outside of prison– even if he attempts an insanity defense. Hawes Spencer has this report ahead of Matthew’s court appearance Friday, October 31st.

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Predicting US Energy Policy in GOP Senate

election2014What would the nation’s energy policy look like if Republicans capture the Senate this fall? Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo caught up with Virginia lawmakers and energy analysts to find out the potential impact on the commonwealth.

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Proposed Amendment to VA State Constitution

Ballot QuestionWhile the U.S. Senate and congressional elections have garnered most of the news headlines, Virginia voters will also see something else on the ballot when they go to the polls next week.  It’s a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would enable local property tax relief for the surviving spouses of members of the military who were killed in action. It’s a measure that sailed through the General Assembly without ANY “no” votes.

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Issues in VaNews from VPAP: Privacy Violation, Historic Property Tax Bill

VPAPnewPrivacy advocates are unhappy that five Hampton Roads police departments are collecting–and sometimes sharing – information about telephone calls made in the area

The board that oversees a pair of historic Richmond theaters got an October surprise in the form of a hefty property tax bill on the publicly owned buildings.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.

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Governor-Appointed Panel Examines State and Local Ethics Laws

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and former Rep. Rick Boucher chair the commission

Former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and former Rep. Rick Boucher chair the commission

A blue-ribbon panel created by Governor McAuliffe to probe state and local ethics laws and recommend reforms met for the first time Monday and got right to work. After approving a statement of principles, the Governor’s Commission on Integrity and Public Confidence in State Government then plunged into a discussion of current laws among the states … and ethics policies that are thought to be “best practices” nationwide.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, with the governor’s December 1st deadline for their proposals just around the corner, the members speedily reached a consensus on a number of concepts.

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Is Matthew’s Defender Ready For His Closeup?

Attorney Jim Camblos Photo: Neal Augenstein, WTOP

Attorney Jim Camblos
Photo: Neal Augenstein, WTOP

The lawyer now tasked with representing Virginia’s most embattled criminal suspect has a long track record, primarily on the prosecution side of the courtroom. Is Jim Camblos the right lawyer for the man charged in the case of Hannah Graham, the 18-year-old University of Virginia student whose remains were publicly identified on Friday, October 24?

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FBI Warns Media May Be ISIS Tragets

FBIYou may have heard rumors, grumblings, and conspiracy theories about planned attacks by ISIS or ISIL militants on American soil—but nothing credible. While the news media are NOT in the business of creating panic, we are raising awareness as it’s passed on to us. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, a recent FBI bulletin sent to media outlets warns that the terror organization is trying to persuade noncombatant sympathizers to execute or kidnap specific groups of American citizens.

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T-Shirt in Harrington Case: A Link? a Clue? or a Taunt?

 Morgan Harrington's t-shirt was found 10 miles from her body at this 15th Street apartment building. Credit: Hawes Spencer

Morgan Harrington’s t-shirt was found 10 miles from her body at this 15th Street apartment building. Credit: Hawes Spencer

For nearly five years, a rock band t-shirt that mysteriously appeared near the University of Virginia has been one of the most connective yet perplexing clues in the death of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington.  Hawes Spencer reports.

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Charges Against Jesse Matthew, Jr: Strongest Case Goes First

Veteran Charlottesville Defense Attorney Dave Heilberg

Veteran Charlottesville Defense Attorney Dave Heilberg

With charges starting to pile up against the man blamed for one woman’s rape and another’s disappearance, who decides where to prosecute first?  Hawes Spencer has this report.

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Scary Movies & Appalachian Stereotypes

Dear AppalachiaHalloween reminds us that it can sometimes be fun to explore the dark side. And the rise in popularity of horror movies of the last couple of decades seems to confirm that. A Virginia Tech Professor of pop culture is taking a closer look at scary movies to see what they tell us about the stereotypes that drive them.  Robbie Harris has more.

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Investigating Unlawful Adoptions

Virginia Commission on Youth Examines ReportThe Virginia Commission on Youth is scrutinizing the practice of finding new homes and transferring custody of adopted children—while bypassing state oversight and safeguards.  The practice—known as “re-homing”—was uncovered through last year’s Reuters and NBC News investigation, which found an underground market for adoptive parents who no longer wish to care for their adopted child.  And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the panel’s focus is  on mitigating the reasons that some adoptive parents change their minds.

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Jesse Matthew Indicted in Fairfax, Tip to Law Enforcement about Vultures

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew

Jesse Matthew, the suspect in custody for the abduction of University of Virginia student Hannah Graham, has been indicted on charges related to a 2005 rape in Fairfax.

Forensic evidence links Jesse Matthew to the 2009 disappearance of Virginia Tech student Morgan Harrington in Charlottesville, which had previously been linked to the Fairfax rape, officials said.

Meantime, the man who called in a tip that led to the discovery of human remains behind an empty house in southern Albemarle, says that it was the sheer number of vultures that caught his eye.  Hawes Spencer reports.

 

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Virginia Tech Research: Anti-Smoking Vaccine

Stubbed Out CigaretteA vaccine aimed at helping cigarette smokers quit, is entering the next phase in testing. A Virginia Tech professor who’s been working to develop the vaccine got a $2.4 million grant from the National Institutes of Health to test the vaccine.  Robbie Harris has more.

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Issues in VaNews from VPAP: Older Drivers, Loss of Farmland

VPAPnewA Virginia family wants the state look more closely at older drivers after a fatal highway accident…and the  issue of loss of farmland in the Commonwealth is at the center of a debate in York County.  Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.  Fred Echols reports.

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