Virginia Gets Low Marks for Ethics Enforcement

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How transparent is Virginia government?

One new report says the commonwealth is falling far behind other states.

Michael Pope reports.

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Crozet Hosts First Public Autonomous Shuttle in Virginia

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  TONY, short for To Navigate You, is a kit made by Perrone Robotics. It transforms any vehicle into a self-driving unit. This one is now offering free shuttle service in Crozet.
(Credit Perrone Robotics)

There’s been lots of talk about autonomous vehicles — cars and trucks that drive themselves– and there are several demonstration projects around the nation.

But a Virginia company believes it’s the first to offer public rides on public roads.

Sandy Hausman caught a lift in Crozet, a small town west of Charlottesville.

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Refunds On the Way, But Not for All Virginians

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Beginning late next week, Virginians should keep an eye on their mailboxes for a letter from the state.

In it will be a check… a tax refund thanks to a budget move by state lawmakers earlier this year.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Virginia Joins Growing Number of States Suing the Sacklers

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Attorney General Mark Herring

Just hours before many states and local governments reached a legal settlement with Purdue Pharma, Virginia’s Attorney General announced a separate lawsuit against the family that owns it.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the latest.

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Episcopal Seminary in Virginia Starts Slavery Reparations Fund

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What kind of reparations could begin to make amends for slavery?

Michael Pope has this report about a new two-million dollar effort in Alexandria.

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Regulators Weigh Dominion’s Request to Raise Profit Margins

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Dominion Energy is asking state regulators for permission to make more money.

Mallory Noe-Payne was at the State Corporation Commission Tuesday and has this report.

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Does Virginia Need RGGI If Emmissions Are Already Falling?

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Should Virginia work with other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Voters may end up deciding that issue this November.

Michael Pope reports.

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Kaine Fears Break Down of Taliban Talks Will Lead to More Deaths

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Sen. Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine was in Charlottesville Monday for the naming of a U.S. Post Office in honor of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American killed in Iraq when he stopped a suicide bomber from reaching troops in a military base.

Afterward, Kaine expressed dismay over President Trump’s tweet calling off peace talks in Afghanistan and the administration’s decision to use military dollars for a border wall.

Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Northam Announces New Director of Diversity

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Janice Underwood (Credit: Old Dominion University)

Virginia Governor’s announced a new top-level advisor Monday. Her job is, in part, to help diversify the state workforce.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the latest from the capitol.

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Va. News: 25 Years since Disney Theme Park was scrapped, Bland County cancels Football Season

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This month marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of Disney’s plan to open a major historical theme park in Virginia. And another Virginia high school has canceled its varsity football season.

Those have been among the most read stories on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

 

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Surprise Medical Bills Get Attention

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Credit: Chris Dlugosz / Flickr

Insurance companies and health-care providers are engaged in a pitched lobbying effort in Washington and Richmond on surprise billing.

Michael Pope reports.

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Northern Virginia Communities Remove Jefferson Davis Name from Highway

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Jefferson Davis in 1855 (Credit: Brady-Handy photograph collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

The name Jefferson Davis is slowly being removed from public highways.
But as Michael Pope reports, the civil war of old names remains an open conflict.

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Does Hurricane Dorian Have You Thinking About Surviving A Disaster?

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Emergency operations planners brainstorm about tips for disaster preparedness in the Alexandria Emergency Operations Center. (Credit: Michael Pope)

September is National Preparedness Month.

So even without Hurricane Dorian, people are thinking about surviving a disaster or terrorist attack.

Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Native Americans Fight to Save Historic Site

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(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

In Central Virginia, at a point where two rivers merge, there’s a little-known site with great historical value.

For centuries, it was home to the chief village of the Monacan Indian Nation.

Today, the Monacan Tribe is fighting to keep the area untouched as officials in Fluvanna and Louisa Counties push to put a water pump there.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the story.

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Wexton Bill Aims to Protect Transgender People who are Homeless

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Credit: John Brighenti / Flickr

When Congress gets back into session, one bill members will consider was introduced by a freshman House Democrat hoping to protect transgender people who are homeless.

Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Saving a Historic Black Cemetery, Police testing Construction Zone Law

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A new Virginia law limiting cell phone use by drivers is getting an early test. And a Northern Virginia Boy Scout is leading an effort to restore a neglected cemetery for African Americans.

Those have been among the most read stories on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Alexandria Prosecutor Plans Diversion Instead of Prosecution of Marijuana Cases

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Marijuana possession is still against the law in Virginia.

But one Northern Virginia prosecutor is taking action to sidestep prosecution for low-level offenders.

Michael Pope reports.

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Oxfam: Virginia Ranks Poorly for Worker Protections

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Virginia has a well-known reputation as being a state that’s good for business. But what about workers?

Michael Pope reports.

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Some Schools Across Virginia Opened Before Labor Day, Effectively Ending “Kings Dominion Law”

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Credit: Creative Commons / Flickr

Across Virginia, schoolchildren are heading back to school. And now school divisions are no longer required to wait until Labor Day to open their doors. Michael Pope reports.

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Northam Inches Up in Polls

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Gov. Ralph Northam

Polling from Roanoke College shows approval for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is on the rise.

He’s up to a 37% approval rating. That’s a five point uptick since February when a racist photo was discovered on his medical school yearbook page.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at where Virginia’s Governor stands now, six months later.

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Regulators: Dominion’s Profits $277 Million Too High

Dominion-EnergyLogo-172x72Virginia’s largest electric utility earned $277 million more in profits last year than what regulators say is reasonable and its customers could see huge bill increases in coming years, state regulators said Thursday in a new report. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Some Virginia Workers Are Continuing to Deal With Low Wages

StateSeal00Service sector employees in Virginia have been struggling for years with low wages. And now, they are looking ahead to an uncertain future. Michael Pope has the story.

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Efforts to Limit Haze in National Parks May Be Hurt By New Federal Guidelines

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  Air pollution or haze hurts scenic views in Shenandoah National Park. The National Park Service has documented the effect on the park’s views back into the 1990’s.
(Credit” Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments)

When you think about a national park, you probably think about fresh air, but the fact is that pollution blows through many of our parks, including the Shenandoah.

The Environmental Protection Agency came up with a rule to address air quality, but park advocates complain that the Trump administration is getting in the way of improvements.

Sandy Hausman explains.

 

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New Report: Virginia Economy Faces a Looming Slowdown

thumbnail_Screen Shot 2019-08-27 at 2.21.08 PMIs Virginia’s economy headed for a rough patch? Michael Pope looks into the crystal ball.

You can find the full report here.

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Attorney General: Local Governments Can Exercise Zoning Authority Over Gun Stores

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Do local governments across Virginia have zoning authority to tell gun stores where they can be located and, maybe more importantly, where they can’t be located?

Michael Pope reports.

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Herring: Oklahoma Ruling Encouraging for Virginia Opioid Lawsuit

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Creative Commons via flickr.com

A judge in Oklahoma ruled yesterday/Monday the company Johnson and Johnson is partially responsible for the opioid epidemic there. The drug-maker has been ordered to pay half a billion dollars.

Virginia wasn’t a party in that case, but as Mallory Noe-Payne reports the ruling could still have implications for the Commonwealth.

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Roanoke College Poll: Democrats Have Momentum As Fall Campaign Approaches

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Next week is Labor Day and the traditional beginning of the campaign season in Virginia.

As Michael Pope reports, a new poll shows Democrats are poised to do very well.

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Virginia Marks Women’s Equality Day

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US Census Bureau Data

Virginia marked Women’s Equality Day Monday.

But as Michael Pope reports, there’s still no equality between the genders in Virginia when it comes to pay.

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Honoring Black Patriots

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Charles Jameson looks on as fellow reenactors Charles Belfield, George Beckett and fire muskets in a salute to black patriots of the Revolutionary War.
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

It’s been nearly two-and-a-half centuries since the Revolutionary War and still very little is known about Virginia’s black patriots.

Some were promised freedom and went into battle. Others produced weapons, clothing and food.

In the Tidewater Region, the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society is recognizing the role of black patriots in winning the war.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Virginia’s Tourism Industry Continues to Boom

VTC_50YOL_Full-Horizontal-Black-PNGTourism is booming in Virginia. And, the forecast for the next decade is also strong. Michael Pope reports.

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This Year’s Election Could Have Impacts on FMLA and Sick Leave in Virginia

thumbnail_leaveWhen can employees take time off? And how much time should they get to leave work? Lawmakers are expected to consider these questions next year, and the results will depend on what happens during this year’s election. Michael Pope reports.

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Protecting Student Borrowers

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(Credit: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr.com / CC)

Is the federal government doing enough to protect people with student loans?

Michael Pope reports that one Virginia Congressman is seeking action on the issue.

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The Appalachian Trail Hopes to Lure New Communities of Hikers

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  Shalin Desai celebrates completing his AT hike from Georgia to Maine. Now he’s organizing groups to enjoy and maintain the trail.
(Credit: Shalin Desai)

The Appalachian Trail stretches nearly 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, and it depends on volunteers to keep the path clear.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is now trying to interest more people in the job – especially those who have not, historically, been part of the hiking community.

Sandy Hausman has details.

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‘Honoring the Journey’ 400 Years of African-American History at Fort Monroe

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(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

400 years ago, the first enslaved Africans arrived to English North America. That moment would set the trajectory of a nation.

The story begins in 1619. In western Africa, a village is raided and the people that lived there are put on a ship and forced to go to the New World. Through piracy and storms, about twenty land eventually in Point Comfort, Virginia.

Today the site is called Fort Monroe and it’s a National Monument.

Mallory Noe-Payne spoke about the history and future with Superintendent Terry Brown.

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Seniors to Outnumber Children, Although Virginia Lags National Trend

seniorsThe senior population in Virginia is about to experience a boom. Michael Pope explains why that’s important.

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Public, Interest Groups Weigh In On Guns At Crime Commission

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Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ

Virginia’s State Crime Commission heard hours of public testimony Tuesday – all on gun violence. As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, comments are falling along expected lines, but there is one emerging point of consensus.

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Should Virginia Crack Down on Tax-Avoiding Corporations?

mapThis week, Governor Ralph Northam will outline the state of Virginia’s finances to the House and Senate money committees of the General Assembly. And, opinions are divided about the best way to balance the books. Michael Pope reports.

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In Richmond, Virtually all Juveniles Stopped for Curfew Violations Were African-Americans

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  Robert Morris, commissioner for RVA League for Safer Streets. Many of the young men he works with have been stopped by police. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Earlier this year Richmond Police released a trove of data. It revealed who in the city is stopped by law enforcement, and why.

The numbers show large racial disparities in stops for things like suspicious activity, and disorderly conduct.

Mallory Noe-Payne takes a look at the most drastic disparity– curfew violations.

 

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Could A Public Option Health Plan Hurt Rural Hospitals in Virginia?

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Credit: Wellness GM / Flickr

Democrats are divided about how much of America’s health insurance should be run by the government. That’s leaving some industry groups worried about the future of Virginia’s rural hospitals. Michael Pope reports.

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Public Business Requires Advance Notice, Although it Doesn’t Always Work Out That Way

StateSeal00Members of the Norfolk School Board are facing criticism over meeting without public notice. It’s an issue that every Planning Commission and water-control board in Virginia has to deal with. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Incumbents and Their Challengers Often Have More in Common Than Meets the Eye

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Credit: NPR

Who are the people running against all those incumbent members of the Virginia General Assembly this year? And just how rich are they? Michael Pope reports.

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Proposal for ICE Juvenile Center in Northern Virginia Meets Opposition

StateSeal00The Trump administration wants to build a new detention center for children in Northern Virginia. And, the idea isn’t all that popular in the region. Michael Pope reports.

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A Peaceful Anniversary for Charlottesville

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Charlottesville police kept a low profile as the city observed the second anniversary of Unite the Right. (Credit: RADIO IQ)

There were no protests, no chanting and no arrests this weekend as Charlottesville marked the second anniversary of a violent white supremacist rally. Instead, the city celebrated what it calls Unity Days – a range of events designed to bring people together. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Two Years Later, Still No Conclusion Over What Caused Helicopter Crash

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Credit: Virginia State Police via AP

Two years ago Heather Heyer was killed during the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville. Two others also died that day. Troopers Berke Bates and Jay Cullen were killed when their helicopter crashed. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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With Republicans in Washington Considering Gun Control, Will the Virginia GOP Follow Suit?

rpv_logoAre Republicans in Virginia on the verge of moving their position on gun control? Michael Pope reports.

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Appalachia to become Hotter Wetter AND Drier in Climate Model with Severe Economic Impacts

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Appalachia is known for its abundance of water. But a new study finds that climate change could have a strange effect here, causing both more floods and more droughts.

Robbie Harris reports.

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Virginia Transit Projects Show How Off Cost Estimates Can Sometimes Be

virginia_flag_map_0Estimating the cost of major transit projects can be difficult. And a new federal report points to Virginia as an example of how cost estimates can be dramatically wrong. Michael Pope reports.

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Changing Climate May be Moving a Subtropical Disease North

Pythium Pathogen grown from Chincoteage water samples

  Pythium Pathogen grown from Chincoteage water samples. (Credit Erica Goss)

At Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore, a herd of wild ponies is under attack by a deadly infection.

So far, eight female ponies have died, and the volunteer fire department that owns the herd is fighting to prevent additional deaths.

Pamela D’Angelo reports the region’s changing climate is creating an ideal environment for the disease.

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Scientists Stalk a Microscopic Monster Killing Chincoteague’s Famous Ponies

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  Veterinarian Richard Hansen inspects ponies. (Credit Pamela D’Angelo)

For the past three years, a mysterious micro-organism has been infecting the famous wild ponies of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

The infection is known as swamp cancer and it has killed eight female ponies so far.

The volunteer fire department that owns the herd and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the refuge, have brought in scientists and veterinarians to try to eliminate the culprit and cure the disease.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Medicaid Enrollment Numbers Offer Hope for Maternal Mortality Rate

StateSeal00The crisis of maternal mortality among African-American women in Virginia continues to raise alarm bells among state officials, although a new report has some good news on the subject. Michael Pope reports.

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