Va. News: Vaccination Mandates And Mental Health Days

The University of Virginia will soon require employees to be vaccinated against Covid-19.  And public school staff in Richmond will be getting a break from pandemic stress.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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Pope & Schapiro: The New Impact Of Early Voting

Virginia’s fall election is breaking new ground.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss new voting rules and their impact.

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The Potential Environmental and Racial Justice Implications of the Mountain Valley Pipeline

Credit: Kurt Holtz

State officials are about to make a key decision that could have environmental ramifications for generations to come. But as Michael Pope reports, the decision could also have racial justice implications.

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A Closer Look at the Narrative Surrounding Virginia’s Crime Rate

Credit: NPR

If you’ve seen many political ads this fall, you may have the impression that Virginia is experiencing a crime wave. But, criminal justice advocates say the numbers tell a different story. Michael Pope reports.

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Dominion Settlement Yields Money for Offshore Wind, Smart Meters and Refunds to Consumers

Credit: U.S. Bureau of Ocean and Energy Management

In 2015, Virginia’s General Assembly passed a law that barred state regulators from looking at the financial records kept by the state’s largest utility – Dominion.  This year the books were open, and customers will be paying a little less for power as Sandy Hausman reports.

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State Psychiatric Hospitals Reopened During The Pandemic But Are Still Full

Catawba Hospital in Roanoke County (Credit: Virginia Dept. of Behavioral Health & Developmental Services)

Across Virginia, mental health services are stretched beyond the breaking point.

Michael Pope reports advocates want changes.

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Federal Hemp Survey Could Help Lack of Info in Virginia

Virginia legalized small amounts of marijuana this July, but hemp, which comes from the same plant, has been regulated in the state since 2015. The USDA is asking farmers about their hemp crops for the first time nationwide. The survey could give valuable data to hemp farmers who lack information and for investors looking to build infrastructure for the burgeoning industry. Jahd Khalil has details.

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Congressional Map Gets Chilly Reception

A draft map of Congressional districts (Credit: Virginia Redistricting Commission)

After the process for redrawing new state legislative districts broke down, Virginia’s redistricting commission has moved onto drawing congressional districts.

Jahd Khalil reports the commission avoided a major pitfall of the last process but may have exacerbated another.

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New Report: English Language Learners in Virginia’s Schools Don’t Have Sufficient Support

Virginia ranks among the worst states in the country for graduation rates of students who do not speak English as their native language, a group that is more likely to drop out than go to college.

Michael Pope tells us about a new report identifying some potential solutions.

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Va. News: Cops in Schools and COVID-19 Vaccinations

One Virginia community has changed its mind about removing armed police from schools while another will require its employees to receive COVID-19 vaccinations.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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Pope & Schapiro: Former Presidents Lend Weight And Controversy In Governor’s Race

Former presidents are bringing new attention to the race for governor.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope catch us up on those details and some other closely watched House of Delegates races.

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Draft Congressional Maps Include Big Changes For Central And Western Virginia

One of the draft maps reviewed Thursday (Credit: Virginia Redistricting Commission)

After failing to agree on new maps for state legislative districts, Virginia’s Redistricting Commission is moving on to federal Congressional districts.

David Seidel reports the drafts reviewed Thursday included some big changes for southwest and central Virginia.

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Trump Phone Call Roils Race For Virginia Governor

The fallout from the January insurrection at the Capitol isn’t just at the center of Washington politics. It’s also become a flashpoint in the election for governor of Virginia.

Michael Pope reports.

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Cleaning Up Virginia’s Energy Grid Could Have a Hefty Price Tag

The cost of energy is on the rise across Virginia, prompting a debate about the cost of addressing climate change. Michael Pope reports.

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Many Workers Haven’t Returned; Could That Lead to More Automation?

As schools return to in-person classes and pandemic-restrictions are reduced, Virginia’s economy is still missing many of the workers from before the pandemic. Michael Pope reports.

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New Federal Data Shows Job Growth Varies Across Virginia

Federal data shows job growth in Virginia is uneven. As Michael Pope reports, one part of the Commonwealth is doing particularly well.

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Controversy Abounds for Virginia’s Redistricting Commission

Commission members met virtually Monday morning following a heated meeting Friday (Credit: Redistricting Commission Livestream)

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission remains embroiled in controversy. Members spent much of Monday’s meeting discussing last week’s fireworks. Nick Gilmore has details.

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Va. News: Roaming Pigs And Resort Renovations

People in a rural eastern Virginia community say they’re being overrun by roaming animals… And an iconic Virginia mountain resort is getting a massive makeover.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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With Commission Deadlocked on Race’s Relationship to Districts, Most Public Comment Focuses on Local Concerns

The Virginia Redistricting Commission gathering public comment for the Central Region, on October 6th, 2021. (Credit: Screenshot / Virginia Redistricting Commission)

Commissioners hoped public comment would guide their work ahead of a deadline Sunday. There was widespread public participation, but relatively few commenters spoke about race and ethnicity’s place in the new maps despite that issue being the main roadblock to consensus maps. Jahd Khalil reports.

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Pope & Schapiro: Campaigns Focus On Parents And Vaccinations

As the fall campaign moves into the final weeks, the candidates are trying to capitalize on potential missteps by their opponents.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope talk about how that’s playing out.

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Virginia Indictments Send Message About Worker Misclassification

The labor practices of construction companies across Virginia are in the spotlight because of a new case brought by Virginia’s attorney general.

Michael Pope explains. 

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City Council to Library Boards: Should Local Entities Be Allowed to Meet Virtually?

The pandemic has opened up local governments to all kinds of virtual meetings. But that was only during the declared state of emergency. Michael Pope reports on an effort to keep at least some of those electronic meetings after the pandemic is over.

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Watermen in Broadband, Cell Service Deserts Struggle with State’s Mandatory Move Online

Ida Hall displays her flip phone as she talks to the VMRC board. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

The Virginia Marine Resources Commission has been slowly moving fishermen, the oyster industry and now commercial crabbers to mandatory online reporting of their daily catch.

But in rural Tidewater, where many go without good cell coverage or internet, that’s a problem.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Demographers: Census Data Shows Virginia’s Urban-Rural Divide Is Growing

Virginia is increasingly becoming a commonwealth of urban and rural.

And, as Michael Pope reports, those two worlds are growing farther apart.

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How Can COVID-19 Patients Regain Their Sense of Smell?

Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University found that having a brain injury made it more likely a COVID-19 infection would take your sense of smell or taste.

But is there anything that can help survivors get their senses back?

Jahd Khalil spoke to one of the researchers on that question.

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Changes to SNAP Mean More Benefits Are on the Way to Virginia Families

Credit: U.S. Department of Agriculture

Struggling families across Virginia are about to get a little more help. Michael Pope reports that people who receive food assistance are about to see a moderate increase.

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Va. News: Connecting With City Government And Free Community College

Interacting with city government will soon be less challenging for non-English speakers in one city. And virtually every student currently enrolled in schools in Martinsville and Henry County will have a chance to attend community college at no cost.

These have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Redistricting Commission Fails to Agree on Consensus Map Ahead of Public Comment Period

This week the public can comment on the work of the Virginia Redistricting Commission.

It was widely understood that the Commission would submit two maps to the public – one for the house and one for the senate.

Jahd Khalil reports they failed to do that.

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Pope & Schapiro: Did Debates Drag Down Either Candidate?

Did the two televised debates between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin change the trajectory of the governor’s race?

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope consider what helped and what hurt the two major party candidates.

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A McAuliffe Veto Has Become a Flash Point in the Governor’s Race

The debate between the major party candidates for governor this week is renewing a discussion about what books are taught to schoolchildren. Michael Pope reports.

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Incumbency Returns to Redistricting Debate, Again

A proposed map for the House of Delegates displayed during the September 29, 2021 meeting of the Virginia Redistricting Commission. (Credit: Jahd Khalil / RADIO IQ)

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission continues to make compromises on its own criteria as an October 10th deadline quickly approaches. Incumbency, a familiar and unpopular issue, is resurfacing. Jahd Khalil reports.

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RC Poll: McAuliffe Leads Youngkin by Seven Points; Republicans More Enthusiastic to Vote

Credit: NPR

Fresh on the heels of the second and final debate, a new poll shows the race for governor is still tight leading into the final few weeks of the election. Michael Pope reports.

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What Makes New Districts “Fair?”

Senator George Barker (left), Senator Bill Stanley, and Delegate Delores McQuinn discuss maps during a September 27, 2021 meeting of the Virginia Redistricting Commission. (Credit: Jahd Khalil / RADIO IQ)

The Virginia Redistricting Commission considered maps for the House of Delegates Wednesday. And the question of “political fairness” is likely to continue to arise, both because of legal requirements on the commission and politics. Jahd Khalil reports.

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At Inaugural Conference, Virginia’s Indigenous Nations Begin Drafting A Sovereignty Accord

Native American Women Warriors Renee Gaines and Mitchelene BigMan, who founded the organization of women veterans, prepare flags for presentation. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

The leaders of federally recognized tribal nations in Virginia held their first-ever Sovereignty Conference last week.

Pamela D’Angelo reports on what they hope to achieve.

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McAuliffe, Youngkin Meet For Second And Final Debate

The campaign for governor is now headed into the final stretch now that the second and final debate has concluded.

Michael Pope reports.

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Northam To The Unvaccinated: You Are Hurting People

Gov. Ralph Northam speaks at Monday’s news conference (Credit: Governor’s Office Livestream)

Governor Ralph Northam had sharp words for Virginians who have chosen not to get vaccinated against COVID-19.

But as David Seidel reports, the governor admitted he’s running out of ideas to convince them to get the shot.

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Youngkin, McAuliffe to Meet in Final Debate Tuesday Night

The race for governor is in the spotlight this week, as the two major-party candidates meet for the last time in a televised debate. Michael Pope has this preview.

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Va. News: Officer Shortages And Firearms Bans

Residents of Petersburg will no longer be allowed to carry guns in any public area. And the Danville Police Department, like many, is struggling with an officer shortage.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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What Happens When the Sun Isn’t Shining? Virginia’s Need for Renewable Backups

Virginia is in the midst of a transition from fossil fuels to renewable sources of energy. And as Michael Pope reports, that transition will require new ways to store energy for when it’s needed.

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Pope & Schapiro: New Polls, A New Debate, New Monument

There are new polling insights into the race for governor this week.  And a new direction for who and what gets memorialized in the former capitol of the Confederacy.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss those issues.

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Afghans Already In Virginia Play Big Role In Latest Resettlement Effort

Tens of thousands of people came to the US, fleeing Afghanistan after the American military’s withdrawal hastened a collapse of the Afghan government.

Among the refugees are Special Immigrant Visa holders and their families who assisted the military.

Jahd Khalil reports that those working to resettle these Afghans and other refugees put a part of themselves into the effort. 

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Virginia’s Supreme Court Rejects Prison Gerrymandering Lawsuit

Credit: Morgan Riley / Creative Commons, Wikimedia Commons; https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:SupremeCourtofVirginiaBuilding.JPG

The Supreme Court of Virginia is already weighing in on redistricting, closing the door on the practice of prison gerrymandering. Michael Pope reports.

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Splitting Saltville: One Example Of The Tough Choices Faced By Redistricting Commission

Members of Virginia’s Redistricting Commission during a recent meeting (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

Republican and Democratic map drawers mostly agreed on a compromise for districts in Southwest Virginia. But they had some questions for the Virginia Redistricting Commission Thursday.

Jahd Khalil reports that after weeks of debating criteria for maps, the redistricting commission is now deciding where to digress.

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University of Mary Washington Poll Finds Tight Race For Governor

The race for governor may be tightening up heading into the final few weeks before Election Day.

Michael Pope reports on a new poll that shows the race is deadlocked.

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Virginia Nurses in Crisis

A recent survey showed one in four nurses got mental health services in the last year, and more than half said they were exhausted by the COVID pandemic.  Tuesday, the Virginia Nurses Association held a news conference to beg for public support as Sandy Hausman reports.

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New Effort To Uncover The Past And Power Of Werowocomoco

Martin Gallivan speaks to a group aboard the Alliance. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

It’s been nearly 20 years since archeologists and tribal nations in Virginia began looking for clues to the people and cultures of Werowocomoco.

It was the political center of the Powhatan chiefdom before and during the early 1600s along the York River in Gloucester. 

Pamela D’Angelo brings us the latest on this important Indigenous town.

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One Virginia Lawmaker is Working to Boost the Federal Government’s Performance

How well is the federal government performing? A bill on the House floor this week from one Virginia congressman to improve performance in Washington. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: New Ideas For Southwest Virginia’s Economy

A traditional crop and a developing power source are the latest ideas for boosting the economy in Southwestern Virginia.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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Texas Law “Inspires” Abortion Opponents in Virginia

Hundreds of people gathered on Capitol Square on September 17, 2021 to rally against abortion access. (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

Anti-abortion rights protestors gathered on Capitol Square Friday for an annual rally.

A new restrictive abortion law in Texas energized many of the people there, but Jahd Khalil reports that organizers and politicians are keeping their distance. 

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The Virginia Lottery Has Thrived During the Pandemic

The pandemic has upended the economy and the supply chain.

As Michael Pope reports, it has also created a lucky break for the Virginia Lottery.

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