Full Disclosure Briefing: The Misery Index

In the dictionary of economic terms, “misery index” sounds particularly menacing.  So what exactly is it?

Roben Farzad, host of the Full Disclosure podcast, and Craig Wright explain it and its impact.

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Va. News: Charlottesville plastic bag tax, Virginia Beach police encrypt communications

Credit: VPAP

Virginia Beach police will no longer allow the public to listen in on radio communications. And, Charlottesville has joined the effort to reduce plastic bag pollution with a targeted tax.

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 and Edie Gross.

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Electric bike-share program in New River Valley abruptly shuts down

Outside the Christiansburg Recreation Center, near the Huckleberry Trail, a sign is posted beside an empty bike rack that reads: “Do not attempt to rent/use the bikes.” The bikes themselves appear to have disappeared. Aug 2, 2022. (Credit: Roxy Todd / RADIO IQ)

Several electric bike and scooter sharing programs across Virginia have stopped abruptly after the company, Bolt Mobility, has seemingly stopped operations. Roxy Todd reports that it’s caught local officials in the New River Valley off guard, and without a plan to move forward.

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Pope & Schapiro: Kansas abortion vote, Youngkin listening tour and classroom cameras

What impacts could the Kansas abortion vote have here in Virginia?

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss that and all of this week’s political happenings.

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AG Miyares joining effort to cut down on scam robocalls

Credit: Jason Miyares’ Facebook Page

Attorney General Jason Miyares is working with a bipartisan group of AGs from across the country to crack down on robocalls. Michael Pope reports.

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Should Virginia teachers be allowed to bring guns into the classroom?

As concern over school shootings increases, some say teachers should be able to bring guns to the classroom. Michael Pope reports.

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After a years-long effort, Virginia will soon do away with a tax on menstrual products

Sometimes the path between an idea and a law takes years of effort as advocates try and fail multiple times before they achieve success. Michael Pope reports on the six-year effort to remove Virginia’s tax on menstrual products.

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Virginia’s Moton Museum added to Brown v. Board of Education National Historic Park

In 1954, the Supreme Court did away with legal segregation of schools in Brown versus the Board of Education.  Today, there’s a national park in Kansas celebrating that case, but there were other places involved in the lawsuit – one here in Virginia – and Congress has now made it part of the park, as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Full Disclosure Briefing: JetBlue and Spirit announce plans to merge

Last week, JetBlue and Spirit announced plans to merge. The new company would become the country’s fifth largest airline – if federal regulators approve.

Roben Farzad, host of the Full Disclosure podcast, and host Craig Wright discuss the potential merger and what it could mean for Virginia travelers.

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Environmentalists worry climate legislation may lead to weakened permitting process

The Mountain Valley Pipeline has encountered a number of setbacks from courts and regulators throughout the permitting process. Michael Pope reports environmentalists are worried Congress may soon take action to weaken that process.

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Va. News: South American rodents, historic flour mill closure

Credit: VPAP

The imminent closing of a historic Virginia flour mill has caused a run on its products. And, the state is gearing up to deal with an invasion of South American rodents.

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 and Edie Gross with the Virginia Public Access Project.

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One Virginia congressman wants to put cameras into classrooms

Cameras are used to monitor security in many schools.  But what about cameras to monitor what’s being taught? As Michael Pope reports, that’s become a topic of discussion in a congressional race.

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Pope & Schapiro: Chips, approval ratings and an old scandal

An old, alleged scandal is back in the news.

Jeff Schapiro, political columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Michael Pope discuss the week in politics and the General Assembly.

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Could Virginia play a role in the national semiconductor push?

Virginia already has one manufacturing facility for semiconductors.  It’s in Prince William County in northern Virginia.

But, as Michael Pope reports, new federal money to encourage fabrication plants could be coming to Virginia.

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Virginia Aquarium expecting endangered crocodile eggs to hatch this summer

A tomistoma eyes the camera. (Credit: Virginia Aquarium / Wendy Nelson)

Staff at the Virginia Aquarium are keeping a watchful eye on over a dozen white eggs expected to hatch this summer.

It will be cause for celebration since they were laid by an animal that’s threatened worldwide, but the rest of us might feel a little nervous as 14 baby tomistomas arrive. Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Blue Ridge Poison Center: Delta-8 THC edibles driving jump in calls

Credit: Wellness GM / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/130100316@N04/15728773073/

The Blue Ridge Poison Center at UVA Health is fielding a significant influx of calls over adverse reactions to a substance derived from hemp and marijuana plants. Nick Gilmore reports.

You can reach the Blue Ridge Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222.

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Buchanan County flooding reignites debate over Virginia’s RGGI membership

Recent flooding in Southwest Virginia is reopening debate about Virginia’s participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative. Michael Pope reports.

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New tourism grants seek to keep Virginians in state for their vacations

Communities across Virginia are about to launch new tourism initiatives. As Michael Pope reports, they’ll be encouraging people to drive to destinations in Virginia rather than flying out of state for vacations.

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A call to ban menhaden fishing from a surprising place

(Credit: VIMS)

For more than a decade, environmentalists and sportsmen have asked the state to ban industrial fishing for menhaden – a tiny, oil-rich fish that feeds striped bass, bluefish, marine birds and mammals. 

This year, a company that uses menhaden in fish oil supplements gave some $2,700 dollars in campaign contributions to Democrats — and ten times that much to Republicans, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project. 

But as Sandy Hausman reports, a member of the GOP is now leading the charge to end menhaden fishing in the Chesapeake Bay.

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Full Disclosure Briefing: The labor force squeeze

Virginia saw a big drop in unemployment in June.  But the Now-Hiring signs are still out for all sorts of businesses and industries.

Roben Farzad, host of the Full Disclosure podcast, and Weekend Edition host Craig Wright explore the work force squeeze.

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State economy shows signs of growth, but many Virginians are still outside the labor force

Credit: MBandman / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/mbandman/23033039562

The economy may be on the threshold of recession, depending on what metric you want to use to define recession. But, as Michael Pope tells us, Virginia’s economy is showing strong signs of growth.

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Book explores memories of Appalachians forced to leave their land to build National Parks, dams and roads

Hankin family: The home of Harriet Hankins in the area of the proposed town at Norris Dam, 1933. (Credit: Lewis Hine Photographs for the Tennessee Valley Authority, Records of the Tennessee Valley Authority, Record Group 142, National Archives, Atlanta)

Imagine being told the government needed your land and you had a few weeks or months to move. This happened to thousands of people, to make room for national parks, and hydroelectric dams. Roxy Todd spoke with the editor of a new book, called “Lost in Transition,” about those who were forced to leave home.

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Va. News: Southwest Virginia childcare, estate auction

Credit: VPAP

A new program in southwest Virginia will test ways to make childcare more available for working families. And, you’ll soon have a chance to bid at auction on an estate once owned by George Washington’s cousin, but it won’t come cheap. 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 and Edie Gross.

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State park’s aerial attraction

In mid June, fireflies rise from the forest below High Bridge. (Credit: Sandy Hausman

The state of Virginia has 41 parks where visitors can hike, fish and camp.  But only one allows people to cross a river 125 feet in the air. 

Sandy Hausman reports on the longest recreational bridge in Virginia – a structure that’s open day and night to those in search of adventure.   

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New study shows Virginia teachers face worst “pay penalty” in the nation

Credit: Economic Policy Institute

Schools across Virginia are struggling to find teachers for classrooms this fall. And, as Michael Pope reports, part of the problem is teacher pay.

You can read the entire analysis here.

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New updates for Virginia’s approach to the coast go into effect

Virginia’s approach to climate change and coastal flooding continued to be updated this year. Jahd Khalil briefs us on the General Assembly’s latest updates to coastal management that went into effect this summer. 

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Virginia’s House delegation splits on Respect for Marriage Act vote

Credit: NPR

The House of Representatives voted in favor of a bill that would safeguard gay marriage and interracial marriage. But, as Michael Pope reports, it was a party-line vote among Virginia’s delegation.

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Ever wanted to have the grip of an octopus? Researchers at Virginia Tech create an ‘octo-glove’

Chanhong Lee, PhD student at Virginia Tech, is on the team of researchers who developed an underwater glove that mimics an octopus. Behind him is the team’s advisor, Mike Bartlett, assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Virginia Tech. (Credit: Roxy Todd/RADIO IQ)

Ever wanted to have the grip of an octopus?

A team of researchers at Virginia Tech has developed an underwater glove designed to do just that. Roxy Todd has more.

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New data shows teacher shortages are hitting Virginia, especially in southside

Schools across Virginia are dealing with a major teacher shortage. Michael Pope reports.

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Full Disclosure Briefing: The big picture

You’ve probably heard plenty of stories about the ups and downs of gas prices, inflation, interest rates.  But are we missing the forest for the trees?

Roben Farzad, host of the Full Disclosure podcast, and Craig Wright take a step back to get a look at the bigger economic picture.

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Democrats are raising more money than Republicans in Virginia’s competitive Congressional races

Credit: NPR

New fundraising numbers show a lopsided advantage for Democrats running in some key Congressional races in Virginia. But, as Michael Pope reports, Republicans have time to make up lost ground.

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UVA professor to study “social butterflies”

Professor Adrienne Wood won a grant from the National Science Foundation to study how people with large networks of friends and acquaintances built their networks. (Credit: UVA)

In a survey by the Kaiser Family Foundation, one in five Americans reported they sometimes or often felt lonely. 

The surgeon general blames a world in which technology and convenience have edged out real relationships. 

Whatever the reason, a psychologist at the University of Virginia is planning to study thousands of people – to determine how we might solve this problem.

Sandy Hausman reports.

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Va. News: Flying drones & a flower’s comeback

Smooth Coneflower (Irvine Wilson/Va. Dept. of Conservation & Recreation)

Chesterfield County has the answer for people wondering where they can safely fly their drones. And a flower that was on the verge of extinction is making a comeback.

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 and Edie Gross.

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Virginia’s prison population declined, but trailed the national average

Virginia’s prison population is on the decline. Michael Pope has this look at the numbers.

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Mass incarceration’s surprising toll

It makes sense that Virginia’s more populous localities have more people in prisons or jails. 

But a new study shows smaller cities and counties have lost an even bigger percentage of their populations as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Pope & Schapiro: Fallout from a poll and the Supreme Court

Fallout from the Supreme Court’s abortion decision and a business poll provided plenty of political chatter.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss the week in politics and state government.

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Spanberger joins effort to protect travel for abortion services

Rep. Abigail Spanberger

As other states take steps to ban abortions, Virginia may soon become a destination for the procedure.

But as Michael Pope reports, that’s only if it’s legal to travel across state lines to get one.

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The ups and downs of Virginia’s abortion numbers

The number of abortions performed in Virginia had been trending down.

Michael Pope takes a look at the data and some recent upticks.

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Virginia abortion fund will keep doing its work despite new difficulties

Abortion is now illegal in at least one of Virginia’s bordering states, and more could follow.

That means more women might need to make a potentially costly trip to Virginia for care. Reporter Jahd Khalil spoke with one organization that helps women with those bills.

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A 50 year shift to Virginia’s suburbs likely to move to the exurbs next

New data from the Census Bureau reveals a portrait of a changing Virginia.

Michael Pope takes a look at the numbers.

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UVA professor harvests silver from solar

Professor Mool Gupta won a grant from the National Science Foundation to fine-tune his method for removing silver from used solar panels. (Credit: UVA)

As prices for solar panels have come down, more and more people are putting them up. But those panels have a limited lifespan of 20 to 30 years.  

Experts now estimate that by 2050 the planet could be stuck with 78 million tons of used solar panels. 

Recycling is not cost-effective, but a University of Virginia professor may be on track to change that as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Full Disclosure Briefing: At the midpoint of 2022

It’s been a tumultuous first half of the year economically with high inflation, high gas and housing prices and drops in the stock market.

Roben Farzad, host of the Full Disclosure podcast, and Craig Wright take a look at where we stand now and what we might see in the second half of the year.

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Youngkin says marriage equality is protected in Virginia. Advocates say not really.

The Supreme Court has largely done away with the constitutional right to abortion.  Now advocates are worried marriage equality may be next.

Michael Pope explains why.

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Va. News: Fredericksburg bag tax, cell phones in the classroom

Credit: VPAP

Mobile phones can be distractions for students in the classroom. But one local school board in Virginia believes it has the solution to that problem. And, Fredericksburg’s plastic bag tax is bringing in more revenue than the city expected or wanted.

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 and Edie Gross with VPAP.

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Minority children disproportionately suffer from court fees in Virginia

Children caught up in the court system are often harmed by fines and fees that can be extremely damaging to people struggling to make ends meet. And, as Michael Pope reports, minority children are disproportionately at risk.

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Pope & Schapiro: Board appointments & workplace orders

Some of the governor’s administrative moves and a trip out of state raised eyebrows this week.

Jeff Schapiro, political columnist at the Richmond Times-Dispatch, and Michael Pope discuss the week in politics and state government.

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How prosecutor discretion could play into the upcoming abortion debate in Virginia

Credit: NPR

Across Virginia, some Commonwealth’s Attorneys are already saying they will not prosecute abortion cases if it becomes illegal. But, as Michael Pope reports, lawmakers opposed to abortion could find ways around that.

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After recent mass shootings, attention turns to red flag laws

Recent mass shootings are bringing more attention to red flag laws as a tool to prevent violent incidents.

Michael Pope reports some communities are trying to increase awareness of Virginia’s law.

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Virginia abortion rights advocates mull mobile clinics

Advocates for abortion rights are trying to figure out how Virginia might end up providing the procedure to women from prohibition states. Michael Pope reports.

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Full Disclosure Briefing: Confidence in crypto?

Crypto was hailed as the currency of the future.  But it’s struggled lately as an investment.

Roben Farzad, host of the Full Disclosure podcast, and Craig Wright talk about some of its supporters and critics.

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