Archive for November, 2012
Before this year’s presidential election, pundits knew that the political dynamic in Virginia had changed. But it wasn’t until the recent chain of events in the gubernatorial campaign that it became evident that the statewide races in the Commonwealth could be more contentious than usual. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, they also have the potential to shake up partisan bases in the coming months.
On this edition of “Virginia Conversations” it’s the time of year for when college students wish for a financial aid package in their Christmas stocking. Our guests will help students and their parents get more out of the grants and student aid available, tackle the myths and realities of financial aid, and help get them through the complicated maze of paperwork to apply for aid. Join host May-Lily Lee.
The online newspaper stories getting the most attention recently at Virginia Public Access Project’s V-A News link include romance at the highest level of state politics and an alternative to nursing homes for elderly relatives. Fred Echols has more.
You can see the stories drawing the most clicks at the VaNews link at www.vpap.org
Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling says his decision to step aside and allow Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to be the lone Republican officeholder running for Governor is not the decision he wanted to make—but one that was needed. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports that as Bolling spoke to members of the media, he left a few unanswered questions about his political future.
Earlier this year the governors of Virginia and Maryland proclaimed a banner year for blue crabs. But they were wrong. With drought and then a hurricane, it turns out it’s the year of the oyster. Pamela D’Angelo reports.
In a few months, the General Assembly will once again consider the question of lifting a statewide uranium mining ban, this time with the help of a multi-agency panel which has been delving into the issues that must be addressed if mining is allowed. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the speakers at the final public meeting of the Governor’s Work Group on Uranium Mining didn’t seem to change many minds.
A state Senator’s initiative to raise more revenue for transportation has picked up support from the Mayors and Chairs of Virginia’s Urban Crescent and many other local leaders. The bill was also prompted by proposed new highway tolls and concerns that the Commonwealth may lose its economic competiveness if transportation funding deficits are not solved. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, it’s a complex, multi-pronged approach that would raise more than 730 million dollars per year.
The buzz on Capitol Square is growing louder with discussions about whether the upcoming General Assembly session might be the one where significant new transportation funding legislation is approved. One of the key participants in the discussion is Governor McDonnell, who has revealed that he’s working on his own transportation proposal. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, many state officials are now saying time is running out to find a solution.
Every year about the time when the ladybugs start flying, so do the rumors. People think the “Asian Lady Beetle’s” presence here is the result of an experiment that got out of hand. But as Robbie Harris tells us, the real reason is a more mundane than that.
Jobs in the coal industry appear to be on the decline in Southwest Virginia. Coal companies have been putting workers on furlough, and it’s not clear when or if those jobs will return. As Robbie Harris reports, there could be a ripple effect in a part of the commonwealth, which has depended on the coal industry for generations.
It’s just two weeks since Americans went to the polls, and political scientists began their in-depth analysis of what happened. Sandy Hausman talked with a member of the Crystal Ball Team at the University of Virginia about lessons learned in 2012.
The Thanksgiving tradition of the Pamunkey and Mattaponi tribes paying tribute to Virginia’s governor is now in its 335th year. Although it is the oldest government-to-government public ceremony in this nation’s history, some things are noticeably different, and some wonder whether or not this tradition will last for many more generations. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports from the State Capitol.
One focus of the Small Business Commission has been on the small-, women-, and minority-owned firms that are awarded contracts to work for the state. While the number of SWAM companies has grown, most are quite small—and the program may still need some fine-tuning.
Thanks to ambitious outreach efforts, nearly 21,000 small-, women-, and minority-owned businesses are now state-certified. Department of Minority Business Enterprise Director Ida McPherson told the Commission that the number of companies owned by women and minorities that conduct business with the state has significantly increased. However, companies defined as “small” businesses with up to 250 employees still win many contracts—although firms with 16 or fewer employees actually create more jobs.
“So when you’re trying to create new jobs, you’ve got to get the money where those businesses are—because if they take on a new project of a $100,000, they immediately go out and hire someone. If you take a firm that is at 250 employees and they’re making $50 billion, if they bid on something—a $250,000 project—they don’t need to hire anybody else. They just squeeze it within what they currently have.”
McPherson said one option may be to target more contracts toward the subset of companies with fewer employees.
-by Anne Marie Morgan
One of this country’s favorite holidays – Thanksgiving – began with expressions of thanks to native Americans who helped settlers find and grow food in the new world. Today, Sandy Hausman reports that Virginians are paying back that early favor with a program designed to protect and increase food supplies around the world.
Virginia officials are proceeding with caution as they prepare to adjust the state budget for the upcoming General Assembly session. That’s after the Governor’s Advisory Council on Revenue Estimates convened to discuss the condition of the Commonwealth’s economy for the near future. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the uncertainty about tax and spending issues in Washington is causing some pessimism about the state budget.
At Virginia Tech’s Robotics Lab, Dr. Dennis Hong’s team continues work on a new kind of robot. It’s capable of doing things which no robot has done before. Robbie Harris has the story.
As cities and suburbs continue to sprawl, wildlife in rural areas is at greater risk, and people who hunt wildlife say that tradition is in danger. That’s why Albemarle County convened its first Animal Summit. But Sandy Hausman reports that officials were not able to resolve some of the conflicts created when city people move to the country.
An old story that may be about to take new twist is among the most clicked-on newspaper reports in the past week at Virginia Public Access Project’s V-A News link along with a controversy over a vanity license plate. Fred Echols reports.
You can see the stories drawing the most clicks at the VaNews link at www.vpap.org
A discussion about controlling the costs of healthcare can’t be concluded without considering the needs of the state’s prison population, especially geriatric inmates. State lawmakers are examining how to balance those costs—because while the Department of Corrections budget has been reduced, medical costs continue to rise disproportionately. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.
At certain times of year, small college towns get into big trouble as families converge to drop off or pick up students or to attend special events. There aren’t enough hotel rooms to go around. This fall, Lexington, Virginia — home to Washington and Lee University – hosted more than 2,000 parents in what could be a unique way — turning many local homes into bed and breakfasts, while generating cash for charity. Sandy Hausman has that story.
As you prepare your Thanksgiving Day meal, have you ever wondered what the early American settlers sat down to at their special feasts? On this edition of Virginia Conversations, a look at that colonial menu with our guests including a woman who literally wrote the book on early Virginian cuisine as well as an interpreter from the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation who brings colonial culinary history to life. Join us with host May-Lily Lee.
Saturday, November 17 opens deer hunting with dogs season in Virginia. The practice known as hounding is a deeply rooted tradition in many states. About 30 percent of Virginia deer hunters use dogs. At the same time, local animal control officers and volunteers at animal shelters brace for a surge of lost and abandoned dogs. From the Northern Neck of Virginia Pamela D’Angelo reports.
Trucks are fanning out across the state this week – taking fruit, vegetables and meats to school cafeterias, but these are no ordinary deliveries. All of the food is grown or raised locally, and kids are celebrating this Virginia Farm to School Week as Sandy Hausman reports.
Earlier today, Virginia’s Senior Senator, Mark Warner, appeared on the public radio program “HearSay with Cathy Lewis” on WHRV in Hampton Roads. Lewis asked him point blank, if he was planning on a run for Governor…and here’s what he had to say:
A new Quinnipiac University Poll provides a little more insight on how Virginians feel about the state’s political makeup and who could be running it in the near future. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, it all hinges on what U.S. Senator Mark Warner decides to do in the coming weeks-regardless of potential opponents.
Virginia’s incentive grants to assist businesses with locating, investing, or expanding in the Commonwealth do result in greater state revenues and more job creation. That’s the conclusion of a study by the General Assembly’s Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, which also found that some grant programs have a more positive impact than others. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, given the fierce competition among states to attract business, lawmakers were more interested in how to fine-tune the grants than in eliminating them.
A coalition of Virginia advocacy organizations and labor unions is calling on U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Jim Webb to let the Bush-era tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000.00. The members sent a letter asking for action during the lame-duck session before the new Congress is sworn in and scheduled sequestration cuts take effect. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Mare Morgan reports, the group believes the tax hikes would help prevent cuts to services that include Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security.
With the re-election of President Obama and a Senate controlled by Democrats, it looks like the Affordable Care Act will go forward, but many states aren’t ready – among them, Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell says the Commonwealth won’t be setting up an exchange to sell affordable insurance. Instead, he’ll let the federal government do it. Sandy Hausman reports on what that means for consumers in Virginia.
The east coast is not the first place you think of when it comes to earthquakes. But U.S. Geological Survey scientists are reporting that last year’s Virginia earthquake was felt over an area 20 times larger than previous research suggested. Robbie Harris has more.
When Hurricane Sandy crashed into the northeast coast, communities in the Northern Neck of Virginia understood the hardship of flooded homes, fallen trees blocking roads and endless days of no electricity and running water. It didn’t take much for one Reedville man to mobilize residents to help Stirling, New Jersey where he grew up. More from reporter Pamela D’Angelo reports.
Before President Obama was re-elected, gun rights enthusiasts cautioned that if his campaign is successful, his second term might include an executive order that would impose bans on many firearms. Now that Mr. Obama has won the election, Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil looks into whether guns and ammo are flying off the shelves—and if there’s a significant price markup, gun shortage, or effort to circumvent background checks similar to 1994 when Congress passed an “assault weapons” ban.
Election day has come and gone but there are some leftovers in Virginia, including barbecue and a bad taste from a political mailer. Fred Echols reports on the most clicked-on newspaper stories at Virginia Public Access Projects’ VaNews website.
You can see VPAP’s collection of the most clicked newspaper stories in Virginia at the VaNews link on www.VPAP.org
On this edition of “Virginia Conversations,” the outcome of the 2012 elections, as our political conversation continues. How will the next chapter in America’s history unfold with the President and U.S. Congress in place? Our panel of political junkies weigh in. Join their discussion on Virginia Conversations with host May-Lily Lee.
Virginia’s Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson, preceded the First Amendment of the Constitution.
And while the country and its leaders sometimes fight over the application of the First Amendment, Virginia leaders say they’re providing a way for citizens and noncitizens alike to embrace its true meaning—in the very spot where Jefferson’s statute passed.
Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports on the groundbreaking for the First Freedom Center in Richmond, which will be a monument to Jefferson’s work and a lot more.
The election is over – now the hard task of policy making resumes. Matt Laslo reports big questions remain – especially for Virginia – unanswered as Washington remains divided.
There were numerous reports of trouble at polling places across Virginia on Election Day, but Governor Bob McDonnell says he’s not too concerned. Matt Laslo reports.
The holiday shopping season is getting started….. and Kindles and other e-readers are only becoming more popular. But those who worry that digital reading will overtake physical books should stop by the Virginia Arts of the Book Center in Charlottesville, where community members are preserving old style book making. Allison Quantz has more.
The Virginia Arts of the Book Center Auction will be held at 5:30 on Friday/Tomorrow/Today, the 9th, at 5:30 in Charlottesville. For more information visit www.virginiabookarts.org.
The pundits may have been surprised when this state went blue on campaign maps, but at least two people at the University of Virginia were not surprised in the least. Sandy Hausman reports on how they knew the Commonwealth would stay in President Obama’s camp.
U.S. Senator-elect Tim Kaine says he’s glad Virginians were not swayed by the negative attack ads that flooded the airwaves against him—and instead decided that he is the best person to represent them in Washington. Kaine says moving forward he has a hefty agenda ahead of him, which includes getting his colleagues to set aside the partisan politics that has plagued Washington. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more from the State Capitol.
Latino support for Democrats helped tip the scales in Virginia. Exit polling suggests Latinos voted two to one for the President. With his margin of victory here just over a hundred thousand votes, analysts say that may have provided the edge. Robbie Harris has more.
Some Republicans are still in shock that George Allen lost his hard fought battle to represent Virginians once again in the U-S Senate. Matt Laslo reports from Richmond.
Not a single House seat in Virginia changed hands in Election 2012. Matt Laslo reports from Richmond.
Public opinion polls still show deadlocked electoral contests in most of the battleground states, and Virginia is no exception. The polls have used different turnout assumptions, including whether Democrats and Republicans will vote in the same proportions as they did four years ago. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the trends suggest that election night could be a very long one for the candidates.
This Election Day, a centuries old lack of communication means we’re not actually casting a vote for President. Tab O’Neal looks at the Electoral College and whether it is still relevant after being created in the 1780s.
Coal is playing a major role in this year’s political battles both nationally and locally. To understand that in Virginia, just turn on your T-V. But Matt Laslo reports some analysts say this could be coal’s last stand.
On this edition of “Virginia Conversations,” will the Old Dominion end up in the “red” or “blue” column this election day? On the program we’ll take a look at the final push for votes by the campaign staffs of President Obama and Governor Romney.
Join host Bob Gibson, with our panel of political experts discussing the last days of the U.S. Senate race between George Allen and Tim Kaine.
There are still undecided voters heading to the polls Tuesday to cast their ballots in the Presidential election—and it isn’t just between the two major parties. In Virginia, there are three “other” candidates on the ballot for president. As Tommie McNeil reports, the Virginian among those third-party candidates believes his shot at the White House is in the hands of voters who are tired of the two-party system.
The saga of UVA president Teresa Sullivan has recently taken a new turn and some famous ponies had to spend a day out in rough weather. Both those are among the most clicked newspaper stories of the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project VANews link. More from Fred Echols.
You can see the VA News story list and click the ones that catch your interest at www.VPAP.org.
President Obama and his Republican opponent, Mitt Romney, have criss-crossed Virginia numerous times in the past two years. Even so…Matt Laslo reports the race is still neck and neck – and there may even be a spoiler coming Tuesday.
Eric Cantor says he never supported it even though he voted for it. Paul Ryan says and did the same. But it’s on the books and it’s coming closer. It’s sequestration…a trillion-dollar package of federal spending cuts set to take effect in January. It would have a profound on the US economy, especially in Virginia. More from Fred Echols.