Archive for May, 2018

Virginia’s Recently Passed Budget Has a Few Other Perks

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Republican Speaker of the House Kirk Cox, a teacher of 30 years, helped craft the budget. It includes a 3% pay raise for teachers. (Credit: kirkcox.com)

The historic agreement to expand Medicaid was the centerpiece of the General Assembly session this year. But the recently passed budget has another important attraction — raises for teachers and state employees. Michael Pope has the story.

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Trip from Charlottesville to Ghana Brings New Insights on Slavery and America

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Cape Coast Castle (Credit: Jordy Yager)

A group of more than 50 people traveled from Charlottesville to Ghana earlier this month to learn about the origins of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, and how it can be better taught back here in the U.S.

Jordy Yager joined the group and has this report.

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Census Data Shows Growth in Virginia’s Asian Population

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Sang Yi is one of two new City Councilors in Fairfax born in South Korea. (Credit: Republican Party of Virginia)

New numbers from the Census show an important shift in Virginia, one that might surprise you. Michael Pope has details.

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Storms, Development Cause Erosion At Historic Fones Cliffs

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Erosion at Fones Cliffs (Credit: Chesapeake Conservancy)

Developers who illegally cleared over 13 wooded acres for their golf course resort atop the historic Fones Cliffs are in trouble again after heavy rains this month sent trees and soil toward the Rappahannock River.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Census Data Suggests Gap Between the Rich and Poor Varies Across Virginia

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Wealth inequality is more prevalent in some parts of Virginia than others. Michael Pope has the story.

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Va. News: Norfolk Preschool, Hockey Hype in Loudoun County

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Educators in Norfolk have a plan to introduce economic diversity into pre-school. And a Northern Virginia town is hoping to use excitement about the Washington Capitals hockey team to give itself an economic boost.

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

More now from Fred Echols.

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Scientists Disagree on Lost Gear, Crab Data in Chesapeake Bay

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A derelict crab pot washed up on one of Virginia’s miles of shoreline on Chesapeake Bay. Many lost traps lie on the bottom of the bay and its tributaries, according to VIMS. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Last year, a scientific report put some astounding numbers to crab pots lost by watermen and the subsequent economic loss when they become death traps for crabs that wander in and can’t escape.

Now, a committee of federal and state crab scientists say those numbers were overestimated.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Analysts Say Used Clothing Can Still Make a Difference

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Credit: Joel Kramer / Flickr

That old sweater you’re no longer wearing just might make the world a better place. Michael Pope has the story.

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Richmond Police Release Footage of Deadly Shooting

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This still image taken from the Richmond police body camera shows Richmond Police officer holding a stun gun at Marcus-David Peters approaches him on May 14.

Police in Richmond today released the video of an officer involved shooting that happened 11 days ago.

The video shows an officer killing an unarmed man who appears to be having a mental breakdown.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Chesterfield Superintendent to Take on Statewide Role

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James Layne and his family pose with Governor Ralph Northam. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ)

Virginia has a new superintendent of public instruction, current Chesterfield County superintendent James Layne. Governor Ralph Northam made the announcement in Richmond Thursday. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Cash Bail: Necessary Part Of Criminal Justice Or Debtors Prison?

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Credit James Willamore/flickr.com

There has been increased national scrutiny of the cash bail system, which critics say creates a debtor’s prison for those who can’t afford to fork over money to a bail bondsman.

Now that debate has erupted in Virginia.

Michael Pope has the story.

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A Look at the Impact of Refugee Placements on Virginia’s Economy

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

The number of refugee placements has declined dramatically since President Trump took office. And, that has an impact on economies across Virginia. Michael Pope explains.

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Advocates Expected a Vote on Medicaid, Instead the Senate Delayed

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Credit: Creative Commons / Flickr

The Virginia Senate reconvened for a brief budget session Tuesday, just long enough to kick the can down the road for another week.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the latest from the capitol.

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Supreme Court to Take Up Virginia Uranium Mining Lawsuit

Supreme CourtAdvocates for uranium mining have given up the fight of changing state law in Richmond. Now they’re taking their case to the Supreme Court in Washington. Michael Pope has the story.

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Calls for Transparency Persist, as Richmond Police Release Data

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  A community meeting in Blackwell, organized by New Virginia Majority, brought policing to the forefront of residents’ minds.
(Credit  New Virginia Majority)

Last week, police in Richmond shot and killed an unarmed man who was charging at an officer. The incident has renewed calls for more transparency around policing.

Earlier this year, Richmond agreed to release monthly data on complaints against officers, as well as use of force by officers.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, some community advocates are asking for more.

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The Number of Homeless Veterans in Virginia Has Plummeted in Recent Years

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Homelessness among veterans is down in Virginia, way down. Michael Pope explains why.

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Va. News: Richmond Courthouse Cell Phone Policy, Martinsville Med School Efforts

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The City of Martinsville wants to keep information about a failed attempt to build a medical school secret… and Richmond is now allowing people with mobile phones into its courthouse.

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

More from Fred Echols.

 

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Housing Coalition Looks to Tackle Virginia’s High Eviction Rates

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  Credit Bill Lapp / Flickr CC

A coalition of housing advocates is working together to reduce evictions across Virginia.

According to a recent report, five of the top ten large US cities with high eviction rates are in the Commonwealth.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

The Campaign to Reduce Evictions will hold its kick off meeting from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesday at the First Baptist Church, 2709 Monument Avenue.

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Virginia’s Rent Rates Have Stayed Flat in Recent Years

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Credit: Kurt Bauschardt / Flickr

The cost of renting property in Virginia has historically been well above the national average. But recent years have seen a shift. Michael Pope is digging into the numbers.

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Senate Committee Puts off Budget Vote

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Virginia’s slow moving budget process is only getting slower, as the Senate Finance Committee declined to vote on a budget proposal Tuesday. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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As Lawmakers Mull Medicaid Expansion, ER Visits Related to Opioid Use Continue to Rise

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Downtown Waynesboro. The small town in the Shenandoah Valley has seen the largest increase of emergency room visits related to opioid use in the state since 2015. (Credit: Creative Commons)

The opioid crisis continues to plague Virginia, and some are hoping members of the General Assembly might be able to take action to do something about it. Michael Pope has the story.

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Virginia Lawmakers Weigh In On Net Neutrality Debate

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Credit: Marcie Casas / Flickr

Net neutrality has become one of the hottest issues in Washington, and the debate is likely to come to a campaign trail near you. Michael Pope explains why.

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Tillerson To VMI Grads: American Democracy Faces A Growing Crisis Of Ethics

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Rex Tillerson addresses VMI graduates.
(Credit: David Seidel/Radio IQ)

Rex Tillerson has been largely out of the public eye since he was ousted as Secretary of State earlier this year.

But today/Wednesday at Virginia Military Institute, Tillerson told graduates about a crisis of ethics.

David Seidel has more from Lexington.

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Judge Rules Pipeline Does Not Do Enough to Protect Endangered Animals

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The rusty-patched bumblebee is one of several endangered species that could be affected by pipeline construction. (Credit: Wikimedia)

Judges in Richmond have thrown out a key permit for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Environmental groups are celebrating the decision as a big victory, but Dominion Energy says they plan to keep building anyway. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Taylor Proposal Calls for Partnerships Between Police and Local Communities

480px-Scott_Taylor_official_photoRecent years have seen a growing sense of distrust between some members of the community and police. Now one Virginia congressman is trying to forge a new sense of cooperation. Michael Pope is on Capitol Hill with the latest.

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New Research Sheds Light On Slaves Owned By Stonewall Jackson

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The Stonewall Jackson House in Lexington is undergoing a $700,000 renovation and expansion. Part of the work will provide deeper understanding of the six people the Jacksons owned as slaves.
(Credit Stonewall Jackson House)

Numerous books have been written about the Confederate general Stonewall Jackson.

But almost nothing was known about the slaves he and his family owned.

Jessie Knadler reports on new research at Jackson’s home in Lexington that now sheds light on the lives of these six individuals.

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Virginia Senate Reconvenes to Finalize Budget, Medicaid

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Activists in favor of expanding Medicaid stage a “die-in” in Richmond.  They say they’ll continue to lobby state senators. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne/RadioIQ)

As the June 30th deadline approaches, Virginia lawmakers are back in Richmond to finalize the state budget.

A month ago, The House of Delegates passed a budget that includes Medicaid expansion. Now the Senate is taking its turn.

And as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s unclear if their opposition to Medicaid expansion has waned.

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General Assembly Action Means More Time For Recess

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Credit: Amanda C / Flickr

School boards across Virginia are hunkering down over calendars now, trying to come up with a schedule for next year.

And, as Michael Pope reports, school board members have some new flexibility this year to increase recess time.

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Va. News: Contaminated Water And Police Radios

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For years the island town of Chincoteague has been challenged to find fresh drinking water. Now it’s gotten even harder.

And police scanner enthusiasts in Virginia Beach may soon find themselves out of the loop.

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

Fred Echols reports.

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Could Virginia Recycle Its Stockpile of Coal Ash?

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Lawmakers are in Richmond this week to figure out what to do with industrial pollution created by decades of fossil fuels. Michael Pope has the story.

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Absentee Voting for June 12th Primaries Now Underway

voting_rights_3002112985_80b5a719b1Voting has already started for the June primaries. Michael Pope has the story.

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Brat Revives Constitution Caucus; Democrats Question Constitutional Oversight

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Credit: Rog Cogswell / Creative Commons

Some Virginia Republicans are reviving a dormant Congressional caucus aimed at highlighting constitutional obligations, but Democrats accuse them of hypocrisy for failing to conduct simple oversight on the Trump administration.

Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.

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Virginia Lawmakers Are Taking Less and Disclosing More

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State Senator Barbara Favola (D-Arlington) landed at the top of the gift disclosures list this year. (Credit: barbarafavola.org)

Disclosure forms show that lawmakers are taking far fewer gifts than they once did, before former Governor Bob McDonnell found himself in federal court defending gifts from a wealthy businessman. Michael Pope has this look at the latest round of disclosure forms.

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Students Challenging University’s Response To Anonymous Threats

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How far should a college go to investigate anonymous threats?

That’s the main issue in a lawsuit brought by University of Mary Washington students.

Brad Kutner has more from federal court in Richmond.

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Environmentalists Picket Dominion Shareholder Meeting

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Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ

While shareholders of Dominion Energy met in Richmond Wednesday for their annual update, pipeline protesters took to the street. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Lawmakers Take Up Call to End Cash Bail Bonds

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Credit: Roy Luck / Flickr

Richmond is taking steps to end its cash bail system, and now some state lawmakers are pushing for similar changes in other parts of the state. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Proposed Cuts to SNAP Benefits Could Hit Rural Virginia Especially Hard

391px-Supplemental_Nutrition_Assistance_Program_logo.svgCongress is considering a massive change to the food stamp program. And, as Michael Pope reports, the change would hit rural parts of Virginia the hardest.

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Education Spending is Also a Sticking Point of Budget Talks in Richmond

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Credit: Tim Taylor / Flickr

Lawmakers in Richmond are still haggling over the details of the budget, and talks have broken down over whether health insurance should be expanded to people who live in poverty or with disabilities. But, another part of the state’s budget is also a hot topic. Michael Pope reports.

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Charles Steger Remembered As Visionary Leader At Virginia Tech

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Charles Steger (Credit: Virginia Tech)

Former Virginia Tech President Charles Steger died Sunday night, according to a statement from the university. Robbie Harris reports.

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Healthcare Difficulties Persist for Transgender Americans, Despite Increased Insurance Access

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Diversity Richmond’s transgender panel (Credit: Brad Kutner)

As state lawmakers consider broadening healthcare access for lower-income people through expansion of the federal Medicaid program, transgender Virginians are sure to be among those who benefit.

But barriers – either from insurance providers or from the federal government are still in place.

Brad Kutner has more.

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Despite Positive Economic Gains, Building Permits Are Lagging Behind

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Credit: Christopher Sessums / Flickr

The recession is long gone, and the economy is making a comeback. But, one economic indicator is lagging behind. Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia’s Unemployment Numbers May Be Misleading

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Unemployment in Virginia has been going down steadily since it peaked during the recession. But, poverty is going up. Michael Pope reports.

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Dems Hold First Gun Safety Meeting

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Credit: MIKI Yoshihito / Flickr

After the shooting at a high school in Florida, Democratic lawmakers in Virginia have formed a task force on gun safety. Their first community meeting is this weekend in Richmond. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Old Frustrations, Potential New Solution For Out Of State Enrollment

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For students graduating high school this spring, getting into Virginia’s elite schools will be a challenge.

That’s because of financial incentives that has administrators looking outside Virginia.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Are May Elections Worth The Trickle Of Turnout?

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Is May the best time to vote in local elections?

That’s an open question in Virginia, where several local elections happened this week.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Could Big Data Help Curb the Opioid Crisis?

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Credit: Jamie / Flickr

Can data solve the opioid crisis? One member of Congress from Virginia thinks it’s worth a try. Michael Pope has the story.

*Editor’s Note: After this story was published, Rep. Comstock’s office vigorously disputed any implication from political analyst Quentin Kidd that the legislation has any political motivation.  In a phone call, Comstock said the opioid crisis “is not a partisan issue.”  She also noted her previous involvement in speaking about and addressing the issue  both in Congress and in the Virginia General Assembly.  That context should have been included in the original story.

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Activists Keep Up Pressure for Medicaid Expansion

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Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne / RADIO IQ

Lawmakers won’t be tackling the issue of Medicaid expansion for another two weeks, when the state Senate is to reconvene and negotiate the budget. But activists are trying keeping up the pressure. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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VT Lab Rates Protective Headgear for Soccer

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Credit: Virginia Tech

The risk of serious concussions for football players is well known.

But soccer has one of the highest head injury rates in sports. Several companies make lightweight protective head gear for soccer.

The Virginia Tech Helmet lab just finished testing them and it’s out with ratings today. Robbie Harris has more.

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