Expungement Among Some Criminal Justice Reforms Left Behind by General Assembly

General Assembly 2020Democrats campaigned on the issue of criminal justice reform last year. But advocates say when they took power in the House and Senate, a lot of reform still got left behind. Michael Pope reports.

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No More Debate: Alexandria Confederate Monument Now Gone

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The statue honoring Alexandria’s Confederate war dead has been on this pedestal since the 1880s. Now it’s gone, and city leaders say the pedestal will be removed soon. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Confederate statues across the country have long been targets for protesters. But, one Confederate monument in Alexandria is no longer a problem… because it’s not there. Michael Pope reports.

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Protestors Demand More than an Apology, After Police Tear Gas Demonstrators

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Natalie Andre’ addresses Richmond police chief William Smith. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

Hundreds gathered on the steps of Richmond City Hall Tuesday to hear the apology of Mayor Levar Stoney. That’s after the city’s police force fired tear gas into a peaceful rally Monday evening. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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State Lawmakers on Both Sides of the Aisle Call for Criminal Justice Reform

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The death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the protests across the country has lawmakers in Virginia considering criminal justice reform. And, there’s already some bipartisan agreement emerging during this time of crisis. Michael Pope reports.

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Outpouring of Anger and Frustration Across Virginia

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  Protesters march through Richmond Friday night.
(Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Police swarmed Richmond Sunday night, forcefully enforcing an 8 p.m. curfew using tear gas and armored vehicles. They arrested dozens of protestors.

It was the latest in a long weekend of anger and frustration over the killing of black men and women by the police.

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has declared a state of emergency, and Richmond’s curfew is in place through the middle of this week.

Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at how a weekend of demonstrations across the state unfolded.

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Va. News: Wind Farm Plan draws new Opponents, Northern VA schools leader looks at reopening plans

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If schools in Virginia reopen this August it’ll be up to local leaders to make sure students can be brought back safely. And a plan to build wind turbines on a ridge in Botetourt County is generating increased opposition.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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Dozens of CVS Pharmacies in Virginia Offer Drive Through Testing

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(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Starting this weekend, 39 CVS pharmacies in Virginia are now offering self-swab coronavirus testing at their drive through windows.

Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne tried it out and has this story about the experience.

Click here for a list of testing locations

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The Heavy Toll of COVID-19 on Virginia’s Latinx Community

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Since the Virginia Department of Health began reporting the ethnic breakdown of coronavirus cases, data has shown a consistently disproportionate hit in Latinx communities.

As Cat Modlin-Jackson found, there’s more to the impact than what the numbers show.

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As Unemployment Rate Soars, Will Job Losses Be Temporary?

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Unemployment in Virginia hit a new record this week. Michael Pope reports.

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From Ebola to Anthrax, Veteran State Epidemiologist says Resources Key to COVID-19

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For 33 years, Diane Woolard headed the Virginia Department of Health team that watched for emerging diseases.

Now, after a year of retirement, she’s back lending a hand during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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An Early Look at the 2021 Gubernatorial Race

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The election for governor is still 18 months away. But, as Michael Pope reports, candidates are already coming out of the woodwork.

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Community Testing Efforts Ramp up Statewide

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  People line up to be screened and tested for COVID-19 at a event held in Richmond by the public health department. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Experts agree widespread testing for coronavirus is key to prevent future surges of the virus.

In Virginia an effort is underway to make sure testing is reaching all parts of the state, including communities that may be harder hit by the virus.

Mallory Noe-Payne visited a testing event in Richmond and has this report.

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Assessing Higher Education in a Post-Pandemic Virginia

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Since 2011, private colleges and universities have offered more online learning opportunities. (Credit: Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service at UVA)

The pandemic is changing many aspects of life as we now know it, and that’s a trend that will only continue for the rest of the year. Michael Pope has this preview for the fall semester of higher education.

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VCU Plans National Pharmaceutical Stockpile

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  B. Frank Gupton is CEO of the Medicines for All Institute at VCU and Floyd D. Gottwald Jr. Chair in Pharmaceutical Engineering. (Credit Virginia Commonwealth University)

Making pharmaceuticals is a labor intensive job. So more than 70% of the medications Americans take are coming from China and India, where labor costs are low.

Now, however, Virginia Commonwealth University has set out to bring the process home as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Should Court Fees be Cut Down During the Economic Crisis?

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Courts are slowly reopening in Virginia, but should they continue collecting fines and fees during the downturn?

Michael Pope reports.

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Tips on How to, Safely, Get Outside During a Pandemic

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  Holiday Lake State Park in Appomattox.
(Credit: Virginia State Parks)

This weekend many campgrounds in Virginia’s state parks re-open.

Over the past two months day use in the park system has actually increased.

Mallory Noe-Payne has these tips on how to stay safe and healthy outdoors.

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Virginia Finalizing Phone App For COVID-19 Tracking

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Credit: CDC

State officials expect to have an online COVID-19 self-check tool up and running within the next few days. Virginians will be able to record symptoms and get referred to testing. It’s just one aspect of the digital effort to control the pandemic. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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COVID-19 Benefits: Should Virginia Provide Them to Undocumented Immigrants?

virginia_flag_map_0Should state and local governments in Virginia be helping undocumented immigrants who are being left behind in federal recovery programs? Michael Pope reports.

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COVID-19 Shapes the Future of Virginia Hospitals

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  At VCU’s medical center in Richmond, 40% of patients are now being seen via telemedicine. (Credit Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center)

COVID-19 remains a threat here in Virginia, but officials have told hospitals it’s okay to resume normal operations.

That won’t mean going back to the way things were three months ago.

As Sandy Hausman reports, medical care may never be the same.

Confronting the COVID crisis meant big changes for Virginia hospitals — new expenses and cancelation of elective procedures and tests.

Now, those medical centers are trying to recover even as they prepare for the future.

Sandy Hausman reports on their path to financial health.

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Controversial 287(g) Program Causing Debate in Prince William County Once Again

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Should local governments be involved in federal immigration enforcement? It’s an issue that’s once again in the spotlight in Prince William County. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Nursing Homes Report Lack of N95 Masks, Isolation Gowns

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Nursing homes in Virginia continue to have difficulty obtaining personal protective equipment. That’s according to new data published this week by the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Expert Warns Pandemic Could Mean More Cases of Cervical Cancer

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  The PAP test brought a dramatic reduction in cases of cervical cancer. (Credit University of Virginia)

Fifty years ago, cervical cancer was one of this country’s most common diseases, but development of the pap test and a vaccine have dramatically cut the occurrence and toll it takes.

Now, however, experts say the COVID-19 pandemic has reduced the number of women taking preventive action as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Local Elections During COVID-19 Bring New Challenges and Solutions

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Tuesday is Election Day in many places across Virginia.

As Michael Pope reports, it’ll be an election unlike any other.

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Congress Considers $100 Billion Boost for Contact Tracing

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Congress is considering a bill that will spend billions of dollars helping set up a system of contact tracing.

And, as Michael Pope reports, a Virginia congressman is supporting the bill in the House.

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Va. News: Church Services Restart and Ranked Choice Voting

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Many congregations in Virginia are taking a cautious approach to restarting church services. And Arlington County is considering whether to make itself a test case for a new way of deciding close elections.

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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Will Evictions Pick Up When Courts Reopen Monday?

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Many of Virginia’s courts will resume hearing non-emergency cases on Monday. That includes eviction lawsuits.

With judges facing a backlog of cases, tenants and legal advocates are bracing for what’s to come.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this report.

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Local Sheriff says he won’t help Enforce Reopening Restrictions

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Most of Virginia will begin the process of reopening for business Friday, although with strict restrictions from the governor.

Michael Pope has this report about one Virginia sheriff who says he won’t cooperate with enforcement.

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Working Groups to Northam: Recommendations Should Be Requirements

virginia_flag_map_0Most of Virginia is about to start opening back up for business, and groups representing Virginia workers are hoping the governor adopts some emergency regulations first. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Farmers and Seafood Houses Navigate a Complex System of Seasonal Worker Visas

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  Rod Parker tests asparagus. Behind him H-2A workers sort and pack asparagus after spending the morning in the field picking it. (Credit Pamela D’Angelo)

Virginia’s farms and seafood processors rely heavily on foreign workers.

But the federal visa system to get them is complicated and doesn’t always work, even when there’s not a global pandemic underway.

Pamela D’Angelo reports on the difficulty with H-2A visas.

Virginia’s farms and seafood processors rely heavily on foreign workers with thousands of visas issued each year.

But Chesapeake Bay seafood processors that pick crabmeat and shuck oysters are limited by a different federal visa system that has a history of problems and this year, the COVID-19 pandemic has made it worse.

Pamela D’Angelo reports on H-2B visas.

 

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COVID-19’s Economic Impact is Hitting Communities of Color Harder, Too

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Credit: The Commonwealth Institute

Virginia is seeing massive amount of unemployment, and massive amount of claims for unemployment insurance. But, some groups are being hit harder than others. Michael Pope reports.

Here’s more information from the Commonwealth Institute.

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Advocates say Reopening Plan puts Communities of Color at Risk

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As businesses prepare to reopen on Friday, COVID-19 continues to infect Black and Latinx people at disproportionate rates.

Some say the plan is moving too fast and putting communities of color at risk in the process.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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“The hardest decision I’ve ever made…” Why One Northern Virginia Official Says More Time is Needed

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Virginia may be on the verge of opening back up for business, at least most of Virginia. The governor is now moving toward a regional approach. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: How Local Candidates connect in the Pandemic, how Summer School may look in Chesterfield

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Covid-19 restrictions are forcing candidates in local elections to come up with new ways of getting their messages out. And summer school in Virginia, if it happens at all, may be different this year.

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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Extra Food Benefits Coming for Many Virginia Families

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Virginia has gotten the green light from federal officials to give extra food money to families in need.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, more than half a million children in Virginia qualify.

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Wexton Pushes for More Flexibility in Paycheck Protection Program

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Congresswoman Jennifer Wexton

Congress is about to put together another coronavirus relief package, and one member of the Virginia delegation has a suggestion on helping businesses. Michael Pope reports.

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Unemployment Benefits: What Happens after the Pandemic?

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Congressman Don Beyer (Credit: United States Congress / Wikimedia Commons)

Unemployment insurance is temporary, and it’ll eventually run out. That’s why one Virginia congressman is trying to expand it, although not everywhere all in the same way. Michael Pope explains.

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Stress Injuries Common During COVID Crisis

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During the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve been watching for certain symptoms – fever, for example, or cough. But for anyone touched by this crisis there may also be psychological symptoms. Sandy Hausman reports.

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A Congressional Push to Ensure Localities Don’t Shutoff Utilities During Pandemic

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Before the pandemic struck, the city of Petersburg shut off water to thousands of homes — leaving many without running water during Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home order. (Credit: Ken Lund / Flickr, CC)

Congress is now considering the next round of economic relief prompted by the coronavirus pandemic. And, it might have a provision aimed at helping restore water to dozens of homes in Petersburg. Michael Pope reports.

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Churches and COVID-19

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Virginia may be on the verge of opening up again soon. But for now, churches across the Commonwealth are closed. And, that’s led to a legal challenge. Michael Pope reports.

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Republican Senate Candidates Prep for Primary Amidst the Pandemic

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Voters will be heading to the polls or casting absentee ballots next month in a Republican primary to take on incumbent Senator Mark Warner.

Michael Pope has this look at the candidates.

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Northam: Virginia can Begin Phase 1 Reopening on May 15th… Hopefully

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Governor Ralph Northam speaks during Monday’s news conference in a screen capture from the governor’s video stream.

Some Virginia businesses may be able to open by the end of next week. Governor Ralph Northam made that announcement Monday.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va News: Staying Home means More Trash at Landfills, Hopewell’s Year-Round School Plan in Jeopardy

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One of the unexpected consequences of people staying at home is more trash going into landfills.  And the first school system in Virginia to shift entirely to a year-round schedule is wondering how the pandemic might affect its plans.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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Some State Lawmakers Want to Make it Easier for Long-Term Care Facilities to Share Case Information

VDH_logoHow many cases of Coronavirus are in your neighborhood? Localized data on the pandemic has been difficult to come by. Michael Pope reports.

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The Devastation is Indescribable’ How People are Coping and Caring at Long Term Care Facilities

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  Kitty Gray and her family finding ways to stay connected during the pandemic.
(Credit Kitty Gray)

More than half of coronavirus outbreaks in Virginia are at long term care facilities, and those outbreaks can be especially deadly.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at why nursing home residents are vulnerable and how their families are coping.

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Expired Sticker? How the State is Handling Vehicle Inspections During a Pandemic

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Did your inspection sticker expire at the end of April? There is some good news: You don’t have to worry about it – for the most part. Michael Pope reports.

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When Rent Comes Due During COVID-19

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When April First came around, many weren’t able to make rent after being laid off in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.

Friday is May First and the problem is set to repeat itself.

Jahd Khalil has more on how landlords and tenants are dealing with paying, or not paying, rent.

 

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Elective Surgeries Will Soon Be Allowed to Resume

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In his Wednesday afternoon briefing, Governor Northam said medical, dental and veterinary facilities will be allowed to resume non-emergency procedures on Friday. Nick Gilmore has details.

 

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Racial Inequity and COVID-19

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The pandemic is hitting blacks and Hispanics hardest in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Voting in a Pandemic: The Debate Over Next Month’s Local Elections

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Next month, voters across Virginia will be heading to the polls to vote in local elections. That’s despite efforts to move those elections to June or November. Michael Pope reports.

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Health Officials Working to Combat COVID-19 in Meat Processing Plants

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A team of federal health officials is expected on the Delmarva Peninsula this week to address growing concerns of coronavirus amidst poultry plant workers. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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