Archive for June, 2013
On this edition Virginia Conversations… Roads, Rails, and Trails… a Bristol author and two Richmond writers share their unique travel destinations and points of interest in Virginia. Plus, learn about photographer O. Winston Link who recorded thousands of images and sounds from the heyday of steam locomotives and whose work lives on at a Roanoke rail-side museum. Join host May-Lily Lee.
Before Democrats, including Vice President Joe Biden, converge on Richmond this weekend for their Jefferson-Jackson dinner, another caucus will take place. The members say that as the Latino presence expands in Virginia, it’s imperative for them to be politically involved—especially as lawmakers make decisions specific to their communities with or without their input. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, that’s also why the Commonwealth’s Democratic Latino Organization has called its members to meet in Richmond this Saturday.
Virginia’s attorney general is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to let the Commonwealth keep its law against sodomy on the books, because he claims it protects children from predators, but critics say we have other laws to do that, and Ken Cuccinelli is simply playing politics. Sandy Hausman has the story.
There is mixed reaction in Virginia regarding the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in favor of federal recognition of all legal marriages. In a statement, the Attorney General’s office says it will defend the Virginia Constitution, which defines marriage as the union between one man and one woman. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, that position is pitted against another legal juggernaut, the ACLU, which is applauding the decision and says it will fight to pave the way for same-sex marriages within the state.
An amendment proposed by U.S. Senator Mark Warner to the immigration-reform bill is languishing in the Senate even as the legislation moves closer to passage. The amendment would enable more highly skilled, foreign-born college graduates and entrepreneurs in science and technology to start businesses in the U.S. Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports that as China, India, and other nations make gains to close their economic gaps with the U.S., Warner believes his plan is more imperative than ever.
A well-known economist is relaxing her predictions somewhat about the effects of federal sequestration on Virginia and now sees a reason for some optimism. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, Chris Chmura says although the impact of the cuts will still hurt the Commonwealth more than most states, she expects there will be some modest job growth.
Even if Virginia Democrats win the Lieutenant Governor’s race this year that won’t be enough to give them control of the state Senate unless they also win at least one other contest.
Both parties are gearing up for a possible special Senate election in Tidewater….and the state legislative building in Richmond is a surprisingly dangerous place. Those stories have been among the most read this past week at the Virginia Public Access Projects’ VaNews link. Fred Echols has more.
VaNews is a free public service of the Virginia Public Access Project and can be found at vpap.org.
A panel of experts whose responsibility is preparing Virginia for more uniform laws throughout the 50 states is NOT ready to sign off on proposed human trafficking legislation. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, while one Commissioner for Promotion of Uniformity of Legislation believes the concept is great, he also says some tweaking is needed before the Commonwealth joins the other states that are ready right now.
In Loudon County, part of Northern Virginia, scientists are doing big research on a very small insect. And the results could have major implications for how the brain functions. Rebecca Sheir has the story.
It may have started with the colonists, but it’s today’s craft brewers that are perfecting the art. We’ll hear from the experts in the field on the challenges of not only brewing the best mug, but getting it to market and standing out in a very crowded field of craft beers.
Join host May-Lily Lee.
Planned Parenthood and abortion-rights advocates may have lost the battle over the implementation of new Regulations for Licensure of Abortion Facilities, but now the organization is targeting the gubernatorial campaign of the man they say is responsible for those new laws. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is now the recipient of Planned Parenthood Virginia PAC’s “Gynotician of the Year Award.”
Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports that in addition to the stethoscope and certificate dropped off at his office, the group hopes its efforts will result in handing him a defeat in November.
Child advocates are calling out statewide candidates and demanding they take a stand on children’s issues and make them a major part of their campaigns. The “Strong Kids, Strong Virginia” initiative was launched after a recent Mason-Dixon survey found that the gubernatorial candidates’ views on the matter are murkier than those of current and former governors. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the coalition aims to raise awareness of these issues so that candidates and elected officials will take notice.
Now that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled companies cannot patent human genes, it may be cheaper to have a genetic test that identifies women at high risk for breast and ovarian cancer, but Sandy Hausman reports that the test is not appropriate for most women and might provide a false sense of security.
A panel of state lawmakers has begun a serious review of Virginia’s tax credits, exemptions, deductions, and similar “preferences.”
The evaluation comes after the Joint Audit and Legislative Review Commission found that the tax breaks did not always perform as intended, were often inefficient, and cost the state billions of dollars in revenues.
But as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the members of the Joint Subcommittee to Evaluate Tax Preferences say that overhauling the tax code will not be easy.
Millions of birds passed through Virginia this spring, and the National Wildlife Federation says many are in trouble, in part because of climate change. A warming planet is drying up wetlands, causing more storms and producing less food. Sandy Hausman traveled to the Eastern Shore to report on one species — the rust- colored sandpipers known as red knots. Each year, they fly about 10,000 miles – from the tip of South America to their nesting grounds in the Arctic – stopping in Virginia to refuel.
The General Assembly panel tasked with deciding whether Virginia should expand its Medicaid program or not held its first meeting–in a room packed with expansion opponents, many representing groups such as Americans for Prosperity.
The Senators and Delegates wasted no time getting up to speed on the complex facts about how the program currently operates. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the need for more flexible administration and control of skyrocketing costs emerged as two of the major themes.
Often, problems occur before the disease is diagnosed, but doctors at the University of Virginia have made an exciting discovery that could protect or even restore vision. Sandy Hausman reports.
On average, people lie several times a day. Some of those lies are big ones but most are lies or deceptions we’ve come to live with if not accept or anticipate. A professor at Longwood University says deception is rampant in our culture and he’s looking for a way to help employers weed out dishonest applicants. Sandy Hausman has that story.
On this edition of “Virginia Conversations” we discuss ways to protect the elderly from being taken advantage of financially. By mail, by phone, on the internet and in person… predators are always on the prowl to steal money from unsuspecting seniors. Join host May-Lily Lee with three experts on how it’s happening, and most importantly how you can help protect your older loved ones.
A comprehensive immigration reform bill in the U.S. Senate that survived an effort to expand its border-security requirements still has a long way to go before its passage. Meanwhile, a House bill with tougher enforcement provisions is being advanced by Republicans-led by 6th District Congressman Bob Goodlatte. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, a state coalition says the Commonwealth’s residents prefer the Senate version … and it’s urging the Congressional delegation to support it.
Several organizations are still advocating for Virginia lawmakers to expand Medicaid within the Commonwealth. Opponents have argued that it is already too costly, is the largest single item in the state budget, and is in need of many reforms. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the Department of Medical Assistance Services says it is addressing one major expense-by simplifying the process for providing care to those who receive both Medicaid and Medicare.
Stories about a congressman’s hubcaps and a climbing wall arms race among universities were at the top of the list of most-clicked newspaper reports for the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
Painting themselves as the “mainstream ticket,” the Democratic nominees for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Attorney General say Virginians have a clear contrast between them and the Republican nominees, which the Democrats have dubbed “the Tea Party ticket.” And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, as a show of solidarity, the defeated primary candidates announced that they’re now committing themselves to getting their former opponents elected.
One of the most contentious issues the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries has faced in recent years, is regulation of an activity known as ‘Fox Hound Training.” Opponents call it “Fox Penning” and consider it a cruel practice for the animals involved. Supporters say their dogs are being trained to hunt under controlled conditions aimed at protecting all the animals involved. The DGIF board will vote Thursday on new safety requirements proposed at its meeting in March. Robbie Harris reports.
Not all minds learn the same way. However, when it comes to education, millions of children across the U.S. are swept into the same system of state and federal mandates—with expectations of positive academic results AND developing a sense of individuality. But as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, parents at Patrick Henry Elementary school in Richmond, the Commonwealth’s only elementary charter school, are telling lawmakers that the state needs more charter schools and it’s time to get rid of the associated stigma.
On this edition of Virginia Conversations, making sure there are enough doctors to take care of an aging population. Medical experts say there’s a shortage now of family doctors. And with President Obama’s health care reform adding more potential patients to the mix, that shortage is predicted to get worse. We talk to two doctors who not only treat patients, but also help educate up and coming physicians. Here’s host May-Lily Lee:
Regardless of where you stand on the issue, implementation of the Affordable Care Act is coming, and the reality is it will have an impact on businesses—large and small. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce led a strategy session for its members to help make implementation less burdensome.
Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports that the question asked by many businesses—especially smaller ones— is how they can remain competitive and innovative while spending a significant share of dollars on health insurance.
Virginia’s Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is accusing the IRS of refusing to release $125-million in settlement funds to Virginia. It comes at a time when the IRS is under scrutiny for its spending and other questionable practices, but the Attorney General says that’s just a coincidence. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, after months of trying to get the agency to ante up, he’s shining a light on the problem through the media with hopes of getting a response.
With only a week left before the statewide Democratic primary, many Virginia voters are now taking a closer look at the candidates. The two Democrats vying for Attorney General both want to make sure that the office is not politicized, protect reproductive rights, and help implement the federal Affordable Care Act in the Commonwealth.
Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports on the two men who would like to become the state’s chief lawyer and “top cop”: Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring.
The day of the statewide Democratic primary is quickly approaching, and the candidates are spending the final campaign week working to mobilize voters in the little-publicized election. The two Democrats running for Lieutenant Governor want to expand Medicaid, curb gun violence through a ban on assault weapons, and promote economic development. Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan gives us a final look at both men who hope to preside over the state Senate: Ralph Northam and Aneesh Chopra.
Sixty Five years ago, ‘The Marshall Plan’ for reviving Europe’s economy after World War II, changed the course of history. As Secretary of State after the war, General George Marshall conceived the plan in the wake of the devastation of World War Two. The plan resides here in Virginia and is still studied by leaders and scholars from all over the world.
Now, thanks to help from archivists at Virginia Tech, they won’t have to travel here to see it. Robbie Harris has more.
Learn more at the George C. Marshall Foundation website.
A crossing guard who makes $40 an hour and the next onslaught on political advertising in Virginia were among the hottest topics on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va News link over the past week. Fred Echols reports.
VaNews is a free public service of the Virginia Public Access Project and can be found at vpap.org.
A University of Virginia professor has won the Asian equivalent to the Nobel Prize for his research on energy, magnetism and black holes. The news came by e-mail, and John Hawley is still buzzing as Sandy Hausman reports.