Archive for March, 2014
The Library of Virginia is preparing for a groundbreaking exhibition on the U.S. domestic slave trade that existed after the newly formed American nation outlawed the transatlantic slave trade. Richmond was a key player in the pipeline to buy and sell human beings, and some historians believe it sent more slaves to the Deep South than were initially transported across the Atlantic Ocean. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, the “To Be Sold” exhibition begins with the paintings of an English artist who was horrified by what he saw during a visit to Richmond. (March 31, 2014)
Crowe’s works are also depicted in a book by UVa Art History Professor Maurie
McInnis, who will serve as the exhibition’s curator.
Slightly more than two months after taking office, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe is responding to questions about ethics reform …as former Governor Bob McDonnell awaits a trial this summer involving gift-giving. The scandal prompted the General Assembly to pass and send to the Governor new ethics reform legislation, which now awaits his signature, amendments, or veto. Tommie McNeil reports.
A high-profile national political group gets involved in a county issue in Virginia…and a Christian school says it may not the be the appropriate place for one second-grader. Those stories have been among the most read this past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at vpap.org. Fred Echols has more.
There’s a new kind of bank out there these days. One where members invest time and talent instead of money. It’s called “time banking”… where services ranging from home repairs to pet-sitting, tutoring and more are exchanged. On this edition of Virginia Conversations, we hear from two Virginia Time Banks to find out how it works, and how you can get involved.
Go to Facebook and search “Hour Economy” for Shenandoah Valley area Timebanks, including Harrisonburg and Staunton
Facing a national transportation budget crisis, some elected leaders are using a Virginia transportation-funding compromise as an example for Congress to take action. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, it’s the Commonwealth’s Lieutenant Governor who’s leading the charge.
Nestled in almost every corner of Virginia is a small operation transforming something that’s just edible–into a delectably palatable creation. Some can only be found in mom and pop stores, farmer’s markets, and, occasionally, the larger grocer or restaurant chains. But every two years, the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services showcases these businesses and their products at the Virginia Food and Beverage Expo. Tommie McNeil reports.
The Cato Institute, a libertarian think tank that promotes free markets, is out with a study suggesting increased spending for education makes no difference in students’ achievement, but critics dismiss that conclusion. Sandy Hausman reports.
The House of Delegates was hard at work Tuesday night…and following lengthy debate, approved a new state budget for the 2015 and 2016 fiscal years. It’s the only budget bill that’s moved forward so far during the Special Session that began on Monday. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, House conferees incorporated some of the items they discussed during initial budget negotiations with their Senate counterparts.
Trees have played an important part in Virginia – providing building materials for early settlers and a home for the animals hunted by native people and newcomers. Now, experts say our trees are endangered by pollution, disease and developers. Sandy Hausman reports on efforts to protect them.
One sign of spring is the return of ospreys from their winter grounds in South America to their home on the Chesapeake Bay. Beverly Amsler reports some of the birds are now on their way to Virginia.
Maps and related information on the birds’ travels can be found here.
It’s rare for a Virginia governor during his first year in office to introduce a state budget, but the General Assembly’s Special Session that convened today gave Governor McAuliffe an opportunity to do just that. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, among his proposals are an outright expansion of the state’s Medicaid program and across-the-board pay raises for state employees.
Veterans groups have a long list of issues for Congress to address but they say mental health remains their top priority. Capitol Hill reporter Matt Laslo has the story on how Virginia lawmakers say their state government also needs to step up to the plate.
Brian Banks is a former NFL linebacker whose career was derailed by a wrongful conviction for rape. After he spent five years in prison, the woman who accused him admitted she had lied. Now, Banks is coming to Virginia to help the Innocence Project – an organization that helps inmates prove they are not criminals. Sandy Hausman reports.
New rules for scooters and mopeds in Virginia are in effect with more to come later this year…and the state is being asked to reconsider eligibility requirements for high school athletes. Those stories are among the most clicked this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.
Virginia’s new voter ID law that limits access to the ballot without the proper photo ID will soon go into effect, and the State Board of Elections is tasked with informing the public about the new change before the November elections. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the Board’s strategy includes launching a voter outreach, marketing, and public awareness campaign well before then.
Open enrollment for new Heath Insurance Marketplace ends on March 31, and if you don’t have health insurance in 2014 you could face a tax penalty. This week on Virginia Conversations we’ve gathered a panel of experts trained to help people enroll in the new federal program.
Affordable Care Act Federal Contact Information:
State Level Navigators in Virginia:
State Call Center for General Healthcare Questions
There’s an unusual reunion planned this weekend at the home of James and Dolley Madison. Sandy Hausman reports that about forty descendents of slaves will visit from around the nation to help administrators tell the story of enslaved families at Montpelier.
Agencies relying on state funding are hoping that when Virginia lawmakers reconvene next week for a Special Session, they’ll be able to set aside their differences and pass a budget. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, while Medicaid expansion is a huge sticking point, it’s not the only issue where lawmakers have some philosophical differences.
Critics are attacking Governor Terry McAuliffe today for selling access to his office – offering opportunities to meet with him and other leaders in exchange for payments of up to $100,000. Sandy Hausman has details.
A federal judge has denied a request by former Governor Bob McDonnell’s defense attorneys to limit the prosecution’s involvement in a separate, CIVIL case filed by shareholders of Star Scientific. McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, have pleaded “not guilty” to federal charges of improperly promoting the company’s dietary supplement in exchange for gifts from its former CEO, Jonnie Williams … and they maintain that the civil case IS relevant. Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan has more details from the federal courthouse in Richmond.
The judge later granted a defense request for subpoenas of documents pertaining to investigations of Star Scientific by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the Securities and Exchange Commission.
Was it a drone or a toy above UVA? Plus, a nice smile may get you out of a traffic ticket. Those stories are among the most clicked this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.
Over the last several weeks, Governor McAuliffe has had the daunting task of reviewing 834 bills that were passed and sent to him by the General Assembly. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, one stack of legislation on his desk addresses public safety concerns, including creating a new crime for a vindictive act that’s peculiar to the digital age: “revenge porn.”
It appears that while state lawmakers have lots of work to do in hashing out a compromise over Medicaid, they have made some progress with education reforms that relate to the budget. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the General Assembly revised the Standards of Learning assessments, charter school enrollment policy, and the process to measure schools using an A through F grading system.
Teachers from New York to West Virginia are taking their classrooms to a remote island in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay. Students get hands-on environmental learning while experiencing some Lord of the Flies moments. Pamela D’Angelo went along, and has this conclusion to our 3-part look at life on the Eastern Shore.
In less than two weeks, state lawmakers return to Richmond to craft a two-year budget that some hope will include a compromise on Medicaid expansion. But Virginia Education Association leaders say while they’re at it, that will also be the best opportunity to re-evaluate how to fund education. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the VEA says that while Medicaid expansion seems to be the theme of this year’s session, next year it ought to be education, and now’s the time to get a head start on it.
Virginia’s Eastern Shore, a narrow finger of land separating the Chesapeake Bay from the Atlantic Ocean, is the longest expanse of coastal wilderness left on the eastern seaboard. As Rebecca Sheir tells us, in part two of this series– scientists have been working to restore the unique ecosystem of the area – especially its 23 barrier islands: dynamic, shifting land masses that buffer the mainland from storms… and provide a home for sea grasses, birds and shellfish.
Much is made of Maryland’s Eastern Shore… but what about our own Eastern Shore, right here in Virginia? As Rebecca Sheir tells us in Part 1 of a series, the area has a rich and storied past… especially when it comes to a special chain of islands between the Virginia peninsula and the Atlantic Ocean.
It’s not often that the public hears of a positive outcome from a mass social media movement, but a Fredericksburg boy battling cancer has been given a second chance after his community issued a call for help. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil spoke with Josh Hardy’s school principal, who describes how their community rallied to support the family and convince a pharmaceutical company to answer that call.
Virginia will have new rules for managing people in a psychiatric crisis under final legislation approved on the last day of the General Assembly session. The bills extend the length of time that a person in a dangerous state of mind can be held in an emergency and ensure that a secure psychiatric bed will be found. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, this is only the first step for an initiative that will also evaluate how well the new system works.
The president’s newly unveiled budget is rekindling a debate at the U-S Capitol over the role of the government in people’s lives. Matt Laslo checked in with Virginia lawmakers and has this report about how it would impact the commonwealth.
A Virginia lawyer is on his way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend the right of a man to grow a beard. Sandy Hausman reports on why seven states will be watching that case closely.
A Capitol Hill reporter has just launched a new project that aims to get lawmakers away from their usual scripts. Connie Stevens reports it all starts with a cold craft beer and a little distance from the hallowed halls of Congress.
While Virginia’s former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife fight a host of charges that they contend broke no ethics laws, Virginia lawmakers have advanced a series of bills that give elected officials and lobbyists a clearer picture of what’s legal and what isn’t. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, state lawmakers sought to close some loopholes in existing law, while not making the requirements so burdensome that honest mistakes would be severely punished.
One of the more brutal events of Virginia’s 20th Century history is remembered and Charlottesville City Council says “no” to a budget cutting suggestion. Those stories have been among the most read this past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols has more.
Senate Bill 51 sounded like a no brainer – a way to help farmers and promote agritourism, but it turns out that measure and a similar one approved by the House could make life miserable for people who live near farms that invite people to pick their own fruit, wander through corn mazes or take part in pumpkin carving competitions. As Sandy Hausman reports, Senate Bill 51 prevents counties from regulating the noise and traffic generated by such events.
It’s well documented that the American banjo has its origins in instruments brought to the colonies by enslaved Africans. Reporter Allison Quantz has the story of three musicians, two from Virginia and one hailing from Mali, who came together to explore their shared musical traditions.
We hear from out-going President Charles Steger, who wraps up more than 14 years at the helm in June. And host May-Lily Lee talks with Tech’s new President, Doctor Timothy Sands of Purdue University, about his road to Blacksburg and where he sees the school heading over the coming years.
A Virginia Senate bill that would limit the use of—and eventually phase out—the controversial practice of fox-penning has cleared another legislative hurdle. The bill, which is now a compromise version, would allow the state’s 36 pens to remain open for 40 years but ban the creation of new ones. Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports that the measure would also cap the number of penned foxes statewide to 900—down from an average of 1,200.
The probability that the Virginia General Assembly will not complete its work by its scheduled Saturday adjournment has grown to a near-certainty. House of Delegates GOP leaders on Tuesday called on the Senate to set aside its version of Medicaid expansion—known as Marketplace Virginia—to speed up passage of what Republicans are calling a “clean budget” without it. As Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, they also proposed a special session just to consider expanding the Medicaid program.
Board has survived in the state Senate by a single vote. Republican Boyd Marcus stunned the political establishment when he endorsed McAuliffe for Governor and began paid work for his Democratic gubernatorial campaign two months before the November election. And as Virginia Public Radio’s Anne Marie Morgan reports, following a final Senate vote on the full legislation, the nomination must undergo more scrutiny in the House of Delegates.
Police officers in Chesterfield County have received some personal insights on interacting with mentally ill individuals…and a Hampton Roads woman found out it’s not always easy to take a child out of martial arts training. Those stories have been among the most frequently viewed over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at vpap.org. Fred Echols has more.