Archive for September, 2018

Are Virginians Headed to the Suburbs Again?


Fifty years ago, people began abandoning cities for the suburbs of Virginia.

Then cities made a comeback and became thriving cultural centers.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, the pendulum may be swinging the other way.

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Understanding Virginia’s New School Accreditation System


The new combined pass rate will credit students who show growth but haven’t passed yet. (Credit Virginia Department of Education)

School accreditation ratings are out in Virginia. But for parents and teachers they may not look so familiar.

That’s because the state has implemented a whole new rating system, shifting the focus away from test scores. Schools will be evaluated on student growth. How often students miss school. And achievement gaps between African-Americans and their white peers.

Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne spoke with Virginia’s Superintendent of Public Instruction, James Lane. He describes the new system as moving from a hammer to a flashlight.

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Farmers Hit By Weather, Tariffs


P. J. Haynie takes a call from one of his fields.
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

First came torrential rains, then record heat, then more rain.

Add the tariff battle with China and farmers are having a tough year.

Pamela D’Angelo reports Virginia’s Northern Neck is one region taking a hit.

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Senate Debate Takes On Adversarial Tone


On Capitol Hill, senators are grappling with how to handle allegations of sexual misconduct.

But, as Michael Pope reports, it’s a drama that’s also playing out on the campaign trail.

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Redistricting: Does it Have to be Done by Humans?


Credit: Marcie Casas / Creative Commons

Lawmakers are in Richmond Thursday to evaluate a new set of redistricting proposals. And as Republicans and Democrats throw out competing maps it’s left us with a question: can redistricting be done without people at all? Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Virginia Is Middle Of The Pack In Business Tax Climate Ranking


In the complicated and competitive world of business climate rankings, tax policy plays a big role.

And while Virginia is in the middle of the pack according to a new analysis of Business Tax Climate, the Commonwealth is losing ground in some areas.

Michael Pope reports.

Click here to read the full report from The Tax Foundation

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Fones Cliffs Enforcement Case Sent to Virginia’s Attorney General


Erosion along Fones Cliffs caused by clear-cutting last year. (Credit: Chesapeake Conservancy)

In July, Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality asked the public to weigh-in on fines and actions against a New York company that violated environmental regulations on pristine cliffs above the Rappahannock River.

Now they’re asking the Attorney General’s office to weigh-in as well.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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How Workplace Stress Affects the Commute Home


(Credit: Jon Collier/CC via

Navigating your commute can be stressful enough, but a new study looked at how stress from your day in the workplace affects how you drive on the way home.   

Robbie Harris reports.

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Stewart: End Race-Based College Admissions


Lilly Qin speaks at a press conference featuring conservative Asian Americans who support Corey Stewart for Senate. (Credit: Michael Pope)

For decades, colleges and universities in Virginia have used race as a factor in their admissions policies to ensure a diverse student body. Now the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate is calling for an end to that practice. Michael Pope has details.


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Economic Development Means Saving the Land and Water in Bath County


For owners of the Ft. Lewis Lodge, economic development means preserving the land and water around them.(Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Here in Virginia economic development usually means building something and using up resources, but in Bath County a different approach is in play.

As Sandy Hausman reports, one family has found a way to make money by saving the land and water around them.

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Virginia Tech, Insurance Company Partner on Damage Surveys by Drone

Drone Launch

  Thomas Jones, a program manager with the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, launches a lightweight drone during tests with IPP partner State Farm.
(Credit Virginia Tech Photo)

Virginia Tech is about to launch a series of drones that will take a new and unprecedented role in the recovery from Hurricane Florence.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Senate Takes Action on Opioid Legislation


Credit: Rog Cogswell/CC via

This week the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill focused on stemming the opioid crisis that’s raging in Virginia and across the nation.

Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.  

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5th District Debate Highlights Differences Between Cockburn and Riggleman


The 5th Congressional District runs from the North Carolina line to the outermost suburbs of Washington, DC.

Candidates for the competitive 5th Congressional District met in rural Madison County Thursday night for a debate.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, both candidates agree healthcare and the economy are top issues for the area.

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Gun Issues Present Sharp Contrast at Senate Forum

LUSenate Forum

  Hosts of Thursday’s Senate forum prepare to introduce the candidates.
(Credit” Liberty University video)

More than a decade ago, Virginia Tech was the scene of a mass shooting. Now the issue of gun violence remains one of the hottest issues in Virginia politics.

And, as Michael Pope reports, candidates for Senate are divided on how to handle the issue.

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New Poll Shows More Support Than Ever for Medicaid Expansion


Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Democrats have been pushing to expand Medicaid for years, although they weren’t able to gain any traction until they came within a few votes of seizing the House of Delegates. Now, as Michael Pope reports, the popularity of Medicaid expansion is soaring.

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Despite Not Being on Ballot, President Trump Looms Large Over Virginia Midterm Elections

473px-Donald_Trump_official_portraitPresident Trump will not be on the ballot this year in Virginia. But voters are likely to cast ballots thinking about him. Michael Pope is looking at new polling about the president in Virginia.


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President Trump Impacting Senate Race, Analyst Says


The race for U.S. Senate in Virginia is contested. But it might not end up being all that competitive.

Michael Pope has a look at the latest poll.

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The Coal Industry in Virginia May Have Hit Rock Bottom

coaljobsIn the last decade, Virginia’s coal industry has gone into a freefall. Michael Pope has details.

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Parents of Matthew Shepard Campaign for 6th District Candidate

IMG_5603 (1)

  Dennis and Judy Shepard speak at a campaign fundraiser for Jennifer Lewis at the Mill Street Grill in Staunton, September 13.
(Credit Jessie Knadler)

LGBTQ advocates Judy and Dennis Shepard, whose son Matthew was fatally tortured in Wyoming for his sexual orientation twenty years ago, recently joined Sixth District Democratic Congressional candidate Jennifer Lewis at a fundraiser in Staunton.

Jessie Knadler has more.

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Possible Tornadoes Sweep Through Richmond, Killing One

Chesterfield Tornado

Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne

One person has been killed following a likely tornado touchdown south of Richmond Monday evening.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, much of the Richmond area was under tornado watch Monday night, as the remnants of Florence moved through the area.

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Goodlatte Gets Praise for Shepherding Bill to Expand Marijuana Research


Rep. Bob Goodlatte/(R) 6th District

Virginia Republican Congressman Bob Goodlatte is no fan of marijuana but he’s being applauded by the nation’s marijuana advocates.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.  

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Florence Storm Prep and Response Costs Virginia $60 Million


A breakdown of two-weeks worth of Florence costs for Virginia.

Virginia has spent almost $60 million in the past two weeks on prep and response for tropical storm Florence. That figure was delivered to lawmakers in Richmond Monday during a meeting of the House Appropriations Committee. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Research: Preparedness Education and Messaging May Not Be Enough


Credit: Elyaqim Mosheh Adam/

Hurricane season comes as no surprise to Virginians.  We know when it’s coming, and we know what the consequences might be.

So how good are we at preparing?

A professor at the University of Virginia analyzed records from thousands of grocery stores and reached some surprising conclusions as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Some Local Jails Won’t Move Prisoners from Hurricane Evacuation Zone


While parts of Portsmouth, Chesapeake and Norfolk, Virginia are under mandatory evacuation orders, prisoners at jails in those cities are staying put.

That’s upset one national non-profit which is crusading to get inmates out.

Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Hurricane Predictions: Understanding the Uncertainties


Virginia Tech Professor Robert Weiss recently completed a study on how climate change and sea level rise will supercharge future storm. (Credit: Virginia Tech)

When a hurricane is on the way, people are told to prepare for the worst.

But when it’s over, if the effects were not as bad as expected, what happens next time around?

Robbie Harris has more.

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From the Western to Eastern Shores of the Chesapeake Bay, People Ready for Florence


Edward Bowis moves a boat to shelter.
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

All this week people who live along the Chesapeake Bay have been preparing for whatever Hurricane Florence may bring.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Republicans and Democrats Hope to Reverse Federal Worker Pay Freeze


Credit Rog Cogswell, Creative Commons

About 40% of the U. S. House of Representatives has asked President Trump to rescind his plan for a pay freeze for the federal work force next year and instead give them a pay raise.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has the details from the Capitol.

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Virginia Senators Warner, Kaine to Vote No On Kavanaugh Nomination

StateSeal00As the vote nears for Senate confirmation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, both of Virginia’s senators are now announcing their intention to vote no. Michael Pope has the story.

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Arlington Remembers September 11th Attack on Pentagon


Credit: Patrickneil / Creative Commons

People all across Virginia stopped today to recall the events of September 11th, 2001. But nowhere were the memories as raw as Arlington, where one of the hijacked planes slammed into the Pentagon. Michael Pope has the story.


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Latest Breathalyzer Tech Goes for a Test Drive in Virginia

Northam Breathalyzer

Governor Ralph Northam examines one of the demonstration vehicles. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

State officials announced a new partnership today/Monday, aimed at getting breathalyzer technology ready for wider commercial use in vehicles around the Commonwealth.

Mallory Noe-Payne has detail.

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Tech Giant, Local Agencies Work to Bring Broadband to Rural Virginia


A TV whitespace tower at a Virginia school (Credit: Mid-Atlantic Broadband Communities Corporation & Microsoft)

Southern Virginia’s economy has been devastated by the loss of the tobacco and textile industries that sustained it through much of its history.

Now with the help of a corporate giant, local innovators are trying to remake part of Southside in the image of the digital age.

Fred Echols reports.

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Supreme Court Debate Could Have Impact on Uranium Mining in Virginia

StateSeal00The fierce debate about filling the vacancy on the United States Supreme Court is likely to have an immediate impact here in Virginia. Michael Pope has this preview of a case headed to the court this fall.


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Advocates Voice Concern About Growing Number of Women in Prison


Credit: mitchell hainfield / Flickr

Women make up 15% of Virginia’s jail and prison population, but the number of female inmates is rising rapidly.

The American Civil Liberties Union has issued a report on why that’s happening and what should be done.

Sandy Hausman has details.

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Remembering Arthur Ashe’s Path from Richmond to the U. S. Open Championship

Ashe Pic 4

Collection of Lou Einwick

As the U. S. Open men’s tennis final gets underway this weekend, many will mark Arthur Ashe’s barrier-breaking victory 50 years ago this Sunday.

Jason Fuller follows Ashe’s path from his hometown of Richmond to the championship.

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Job Growth is Uneven Across Virginia, Charlottesville Leads the Way


Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Virginia is adding jobs, and that growth is happening across all parts of the commonwealth. But some parts are growing much faster than others. Michael Pope is looking at the numbers.

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Third Party Candidate Ordered off the Ballot in Competitive Virginia Race

Shaun Brown

  Shaun Brown speaks with reporters after the ruling. She says she will appeal.
(Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Amidst findings of fraud, a judge in Richmond is ordering the independent candidate in a competitive Congressional race off the ballot this November.

Shaun Brown, a former Democrat running as an Independent in the 2nd District, says she will appeal the ruling.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports there’s still an ongoing criminal investigation, examining whether Republican Congressman Scott Taylor was involved.

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Virginia Schools Have A Funding Gap New Report Finds

schoolspovertyIt’s back to school time in Virginia, and students are headed back to classrooms across the commonwealth. But those schools are not being funded at the same levels. Michael Pope has this look at the funding gap.

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Sea Level Rise + Earthquakes +Tsunamis = More Coastal Flooding Ahead


Robert Weiss and his partners created computer-simulated tsunamis at current sea level and with sea-level increases of 1.5 feet and 3 feet in the Chinese territory of Macau. (Credit Virginia Tech)

A first of its kind study finds even a small rise in sea level could lead to more coastal flooding worldwide.

A team of scientists including experts from Virginia Tech predicts a warming planet will see more ‘worst case scenarios’ more often, if nothing is done to prevent it.

Robbie Harris reports.

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RC Poll: Consumer Confidence Varies Widely By Political Party


Credit: Roanoke College

What do Virginians think about the state of the economy? According to one new poll, that depends on what they think of the party in power. Michael Pope has more.


The figure is a time series showing the Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment by party affiliation. Note: Lines = Virginia Index of Consumer Sentiment (Blue=D, Red=R), Dashed Lines = VAICS Historical Average (Credit: Institute for Policy and Opinion Research at Roanoke College)


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Virginia May Soon Take a Step Towards Providing Health Insurance Stability

StateSeal00For people who get their health insurance through the Affordable Care Act, recent years have seen some massive premium hikes. But now lawmakers in Virginia may be on the verge of stabilizing the marketplace for the individual market. Michael Pope reports.


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Va News: Telling the US Story of Slavery, UVA History


Next year Virginia will mark the 400th anniversaries of the beginnings of English-style legislatures and African slavery in Britain’s American colonies……and a report on slavery’s role at the University of Virginia finds grave robbing was once common at black cemeteries.

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.

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