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Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 21, 2014
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.
Posted in Uncategorized on November 20, 2014
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 17, 2014
Virginia 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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 16, 2014
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.
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.
Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2014
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.
With 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.
It 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.
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.
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.
For 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.
Posted in Virginia's News on November 4, 2014
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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on November 3, 2014
Virginia 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.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on November 2, 2014
The 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.
Posted in Virginia's News on November 2, 2014
Some 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.
Posted in Spotlight on WVTF 2014 on November 1, 2014
Posted in Virginia's News on October 30, 2014
The 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.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 29, 2014
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.
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?
You 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.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 22, 2014
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.
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.
Halloween 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.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on October 20, 2014
The 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.
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.
A 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.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on October 20, 2014
A 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.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 19, 2014
Police in Albemarle County are waiting for results from the state’s crime lab – hoping to learn whether remains found over the weekend are those of missing UVA student Hannah Graham. Sandy Hausman reports on the discovery and what it may mean for the only suspect in the case – Jesse Matthew, Jr.
With the disappearance of Hannah Graham, Morgan Harrington, Alexis Murphy, Dashad Smith and other young adults, some people wonder if a serial killer is at work in and around Charlottesville. Sandy Hausman talked with law enforcement experts who say that’s possible – but other factors may account for these tragic cases, Central Virginia isn’t the only place reporting missing people, and such things have occurred in the past.
While state officials express confidence, health care professionals are preparing on the front lines. Sandy Hausman paid a visit to the University of Virginia Medical Center where staff was invited to a lunch-time discussion of ebola. That presentation suggests one of Virginia’s premiere teaching hospitals could handle a couple of cases but maybe not a major outbreak. Sandy Hausman has the story.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on October 16, 2014
The possibility that a now-deceased Ebola patient could have spread the virus to fellow travelers as he waited in a Virginia airport has prompted several state lawmakers to ask Governor McAuliffe to use his authority to impose travel restrictions on Dulles Airport. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the state’s Health Commissioner cautions against overkill … and says Virginia’s health professionals are doing everything they can to keep the situation under control.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 15, 2014
Police have a suspect in the disappearance of Hannah Graham, but their investigation continues. They’re not saying much, but in the first of a two-part series, Sandy Hausman looks at what may be going on behind the scenes and why.
Although the two men are vying for the U.S. Senate seat held by Warner, the Virginia General Assembly and ethics questions surrounding the resignation of former state Senator Phillip Puckett were drawn into the debate.
Federal investigators have been looking into allegations that some Republicans may have offered Puckett a job on the Virginia Tobacco Commission in exchange for his resignation, which switched control of the state Senate to the GOP. Gillespie brought up a recent Washington Post story reporting that Warner had called Puckett’s son and discussed job possibilities for Puckett’s daughter.
Warner explained that he has been a friend of Puckett and his family for nearly 20 years: He added that he spoke with Puckett himself the next day and it was clear that he had made up his mind. Warner later told reporters that he was asked to call Puckett’s son by Democratic state Senator Dick Saslaw and Governor McAuliffe’s chief-of-staff, Paul Reagan.
The “People’s Debate” in Richmond was televised statewide and sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Virginia, AARP of Virginia, WTVR-TV, and WCVE-Public Television. The Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, was not invited to participate in the debate.
Spending on support functions at Virginia’s public colleges and universities is one reason that higher education costs have escalated over the last two decades. That’s the conclusion of the latest report by the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, which has been studying why the costs of a college education have soared. The study also found that improving organizational structure and purchasing strategies could help rein in those costs.
When critics question how effectively the Virginia Tobacco Commission is using hundreds of millions of dollars the state received from the National Tobacco Settlement there’s one project that always seems to come up.
It started five years ago as a $25-million grant to establish a medical school in Bristol. Since then the only two things that have been consistent about the plan are the absence of any apparent progress and the Tobacco Commission’s continuing support. Fred Echols reports.
This week, the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts will paint the town red, opening a massive new show from China. Sandy Hausman reports on The Forbidden City – a look inside the palace that two dozen Chinese emperors called home.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on October 13, 2014
Danville City Council must decide whether the Confederate flag will continue to fly over the site of the final cabinet meeting of the Confederacy…and gun rights activists are angry after the sheriff of Stafford County moved to prevent the open carrying of firearms at a National Night Out event. Those stories have been among the most read over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.
Posted in Virginia's News on October 13, 2014
While Charlottesville Police have received thousands of leads in the case of a missing student, they now have a new responsibility: running the search for the young woman. Hawes Spencer has this update.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on October 10, 2014
Accused of unconstitutional gerrymandering, Virginia’s General Assembly was told last week by a federal district court in Richmond that it must redraw its Congressional map next year because too many black voters are “packed” into one majority-minority district. But state lawmakers could actually avoid a contentious debate and not address the issue at all during their next session. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, it is possible.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on October 8, 2014
While it is true that many Virginians do not have health insurance, that number is dwarfed by those who don’t have affordable access to oral health facilities and dentists. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, because poor dental hygiene also leads to other health problems, Virginia lawmakers are now studying the most feasible ways to address the problem.
Posted in Daily Capitol News Updates on October 7, 2014
The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling against Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban is already having an impact. The 4th Circuit issued its mandate early Monday afternoon, and same-sex couples began lining up at local courthouses to get married. One of the couples who successfully sued to overturn the state Constitution’s marriage provision renewed the vows that they had first taken in another state. Anne Marie Morgan reports.
There’s no argument about the fact that any amount of lead in drinking water is unsafe. No matter how much, it’s too much, of this potent neurotoxin. But lead has been showing up in well water tests around Virginia. About a fifth of the state’s residents get their water from wells. As Robbie Harris reports, the findings are new evidence of a problem many thought had been solved.
Virginia’s new voter I-D law has Virginia Democrats worried after the state board of elections found nearly two hundred thousand registered voters don’t have a driver’s license. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story on how Republicans say Democrats are overreacting.
Virginia Democratic Senator Tim Kaine is urging the Bureau of Indian Affairs to loosen requirements for federal recognition because six Virginia tribes remain locked out. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story.
More than 100 law enforcement officers from across central Virginia joined trained search and rescue teams to search rural areas of western and eastern Albemarle County Sunday. Charlottesville Police Chief Tim Longo says, “Every square inch of Albemarle County is being searched this weekend and we’re going to find Hannah Graham.”
Posted in Virginia's News on October 2, 2014
In recent years, as the National Park Service has faced deep funding cuts and a stagnant number of visitors, the country’s demographic changes have made its problems more pronounced. Most visitors to National Parks are white, and increasingly they’re also older. For instance, Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park is one of the nation’s most visited and accessible parks, yet recent research indicates that 92% of visitors in 2011 were white.In hopes of shifting the numbers, the Park Service is now supporting new programs and grassroots groups working to attract underrepresented categories of visitors: young people, African-Americans and Latinos. Jonna McKone has the story of the group “Girl Trek” working to get African American women healthier — using National Parks to inspire long-term health.
Posted in VaNews from VPAP on September 29, 2014
A Hanover County supervisor is upset because students are seeing a film in which Muslims say U-S actions abroad were among the causes of the 9-11 attacks…and growing numbers of state employees in Virginia are on public assistance while working full time. 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.
Posted in Virginia's News on September 24, 2014
Charlottesville police may be frustrated this hour. Their only person of interest in the Hannah Graham case remains at large, and Sandy Hausman reports they’re still waiting for results from evidence sent to the state’s crime lab on Saturday.
Jesse Matthew, who’s wanted for questioning in connection with the disappearance of UVA student Hannah Graham, is still missing, and he’s become the subject of considerable talk in the town where he grew up. Police say he has no record of violent crime, but reporter Hawes Spencer has been asking around and has come up with some intriguing information. We talked with Spencer about one particular incident.