Archive for October, 2020

Va. News: School Enrollment & “Halloween as Usual”

While some Virginia localities are trying to discourage trick-or-treating this year at least one city says it’ll be “Halloween as usual.”  And the pandemic is costing Virginia school systems millions of dollars in funding.

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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Virginia Takes on Race-Motivated 911 Calls

Calling 911 on someone because they are Black is about to become a felony in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Soybean Seesaw: The Give and Take of Tariffs and Trade Wars

Credit: Edgar Pierce / Flickr, Creative Commons: flickr.com/photos/edgarpierce/6279891136

Virginia agriculture is taking some hits. But some sectors are benefiting at the expense of others. Michael Pope reports.

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Differences Over Conviction Expungement Continue to Divide General Assembly

Lawmakers are mostly done with their special session, although they left some business unfinished. Michael Pope reports on one criminal justice reform that has yet to be resolved.

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Amid Continuing Pandemic, Families Wait for Housing Help

A map of the 7th Congressional District

The congressional race in Virginia’s 7th District is one of the most competitive in the state.

It pits incumbent Democrat Abigail Spanberger against Republican challenger Nick Freitas.

The two met for their only debate Tuesday night.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more. 

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A Closer Look at Virginia’s U.S. Senate Race

Credit: NPR

The race for president will be at the top of the ticket this year. But the race just underneath that will be the election for United States Senator between incumbent Democrat Mark Warner and Republican challenger Daniel Gade. Michael Pope has this look at that campaign.

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Amid Continuing Pandemic, Families Wait for Housing Help

Tammie Lyle had to quit her job to help her son during the school day. (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

Our pandemic reality is precarious… and many Virginians have struggled like never before to keep the lights on and pay the rent.

Since a special session began in the summer, members of the General Assembly have acted on a series of rules intended to provide relief for both tenants and landlords trying to make ends meet.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this look at what made it through and what got left behind. 

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Both Republicans and Democrats Split Over Redistricting Amendment

Credit: Christopher Newport University

Democrats are divided over a constitutional amendment creating a new redistricting commission. And, as it turns out, Republicans are divided too. Michael Pope reports.

You can find the poll here.

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Elections Board gets Update on Postmarks, Other Issues

The state Board of Elections approved a regulation Tuesday that will count ballots with a missing or illegible postmark, as long as the ballots were received by noon on the Friday after Election Day.

Jahd Khalil has more. 

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No Immediate Ruling from Judge After Lee Statue Trial

Protesters gather around the Lee Monument last summer. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

A judge in Richmond heard arguments Monday in a lawsuit that could determine the fate of the Robert E Lee statue on Monument Avenue.

Mallory Noe-Payne was at the courthouse Monday and reports the judge expects to issue a ruling in the coming days. 

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Special Session Begins to Wrap Up: What Did Lawmakers Accomplish?

Governor Ralph Northam is now considering several dozen bills lawmakers sent during a two-month special session. Michael Pope reports.

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After Lengthy Special Session, Adjusted State Budget Still Faces Delays

The much awaited budget proposal was adopted by the General Assembly late Friday.

As Cat Modlin-Jackson reports, Virginians reeling from the pandemic are waiting on financial aid tied up in the plan.

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Va. News: Outlawing Outhouses and Reopening Public Libraries

A Virginia county is being asked to exempt its Amish community from rules prohibiting outhouses. And extended closures during the pandemic are putting pressure on public libraries.

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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While Virginia Unemployment Begins to Fall, It Remains High in the Asian American Community

Although some sectors of the economy are making a comeback from the crisis created by the pandemic, many communities in Virginia are still struggling.

Michael Pope reports.

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General Assembly Sends Civilian Review Legislation to Governor

Members of the General Assembly are wrapping up their special session.

And, as Michael Pope reports, one bill they’re sending to the governor could create new oversight of law enforcement. 

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After Two Months, Legislators Ready to Advance Budget Bill

Almost two months into a special session that was initially expected to last two weeks, negotiators in the General Assembly have come to an agreement over the details of the state budget.

Now it’s up to both chambers and the Governor to make the bill a law.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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What We’re Buying: From Sourdough Effect to Frozen Pizza Effect

New numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows consumers in Northern Virginia are looking for comfort food.

Michael Pope reports.

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Thousands Fail to Enroll in VA Public Schools

A recent survey of schools in Virginia yielded some surprising and worrisome news – enrollments are down, and that could mean a reduction in state funding.

Sandy Hausman has more on where students have gone and what that might mean for public schools.

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Judge Extends Virginia’s Voter Registration Deadline

A federal judge today/Wednesday extended the deadline for Virginians to register to vote.

The last day of registration was supposed to be Tuesday, but the state website citizens would use to register was taken offline when a construction crew severed a fiber optic cable.

Jahd Khalil has more.

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Democrats Aim to Hold on to Competitive 7th District Seat, Republicans Want it Back

Virginia’s 7th District stretches from Culpeper all the way south to Blackstone, encompassing the suburbs west of Richmond.

The mix of rural and suburban voters makes for a competitive race between Republican Nick Freitas and incumbent Abigail Spanberger.

Mallory Noe-Payne spoke with the Democrat about her policy positions and has this report. 

Nick Freitas also recently spoke to Mallory Noe-Payne about the issues in the race.

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Warner, Gade Meet for Final Debate

U.S. Senator Mark Warner and his Republican opponent Daniel Gade squared off in their third and final debate Tuesday night.

Michael Pope reports.

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McEachin, Benjamin Debate in 4th District Race

Virginia’s 4th Congressional District stretches from Richmond south and east to Chesapeake.

Incumbent Congressman Donald McEachin squared off Tuesday night with challenger Leon Benjamin.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this round-up of their debate. 

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Voter Registration Portal Working Again, But No Extension of Deadline Yet

The Department of Elections’ portal to register to vote was offline for much of Tuesday after a fiber optic cable was cut during construction.

It happened on the last day of voter registration, prompting calls to extend the registration period.

Jahd Khalil has more.

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New Study: More Deaths Can Be Attributed to COVID-19

A new study from Virginia Commonwealth University suggests the death rate from COVID-19 is higher than reported. 

Sandy Hausman spoke with its lead author about the under-count, what some states have done wrong during the pandemic and how this state has performed.

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Va. News: Signs, Signs and More Signs

Political signs have always been targets for thieves and vandals but in at least one city the problem seems to be worse than ever… and when a Richmond area couple wanted to show support for Black Lives Matter protesters they went big with a sign of their own.

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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Who Should Be Able to Serve on New Redistricting Commission?

Voters are considering a constitutional amendment that would create a new commission to draw political boundaries. But just who is expected to serve on this commission? Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Gets “C” Grade for Future Debt in Unfunded Pensions

Virginia prides itself on being a state that has a balanced budget. But, that doesn’t mean the Commonwealth is without debt. Michael Pope reports.

Here’s a link to the report from Truth in Accounting.

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In a Rural Community, Rumors Fill the Void of Coronavirus Information

Credit: CDC

During the last days of September, rural communities in the Middle Peninsula and the Northern Neck had a surge in coronavirus cases.

Because of privacy rules, the local department of health is not allowed to give out any details of where surges occurred.

As Pamela D’Angelo reports, that’s when rumors began to spread.

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General Assembly Working Out Differences Over Conviction Expungement

Leaders in the House and Senate are trying to work out their differences on expunging old convictions. Michael Pope reports.

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State Lawmakers Are Working to Give Prosecutors More Options

Lawmakers are wrapping up their special session on the budget and criminal justice reform. And, they’re about to send a bill to the governor that could transform how cases are handled in your local courthouse. Michael Pope reports.

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A Closer Look at Closed-Door Conference Committees

Lawmakers are trying to wrap up their special session in Richmond, although they’ll need to resolve several major differences between the House version of bills and the Senate version of bills. And, they’ll be resolving their differences in private. Michael Pope reports.

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Report: Virginia Could Be Doing More to Help Localities Recruit Teachers

State officials could be doing more to help recruit and retain qualified teachers. That’s one finding in a report released to lawmakers today by the state’s independent watchdog agency. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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During Debate, Senate Candidates Own Up to Mistakes

Candidates for the United States Senate are not perfect.

In fact, as Michael Pope reports, some of them even admit when they’ve been wrong.

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Va. News: School Bus Space and Long Overdue Recognition

Maintaining social distancing on school buses is complicating things for localities looking to bring students back to the classroom. And a high school baseball team is finally being recognized for a championship it won half a century ago.

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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A Look at the Policing Reforms Moving Forward at the General Assembly

Lawmakers in Richmond are moving forward with a sweeping package of new laws aimed at reforming how policing works in Virginia. Michael Pope reports.

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Effort Banning Police Use of Chokeholds Fails in Richmond

Lawmakers in Richmond may be close to wrapping up their special session. And, they’re coming to a resolution on the issue of chokeholds. Michael Pope reports.

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COVID-19 Outbreak at Farmville ICE Facility Officially Over

(Credit: U. S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

An immigrant detention facility in Farmville is COVID-19 free, for now.

That’s according to officials with the Virginia Department of Health.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports. 

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Budget Revisions Could Address Immigrant Medicaid Rule

The state Senate approved its version of a budget today/Friday, leaving lawmakers in the General Assembly to reconcile their proposals.

As Cat Modlin-Jackson reports, one difference between the upper-chamber and the House comes down to a rule often cited as a barrier to healthcare for immigrants.

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Effort to Block Funding for Sex Ed Texting Program Fails

Lawmakers are in Richmond trying to deal with the health emergency created by the pandemic and the economic emergency caused by the shutdown while also addressing systemic racism and police reform.

But, as Michael Pope reports, it was a debate over sex-ed that occupied much of the Senate’s attention Thursday.

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5th Congressional District Up for Grabs

A map of the 5th Congressional District

The Fifth Congressional District, which runs from northern Virginia to the North Carolina border, was drawn to benefit Republican candidates. 

In 2016, Donald Trump got 53% of the vote to Hilary Clinton’s 42%.  This year, however, the Cook Political Report rates the congressional race a toss-up, with Democrat Cameron Webb trailing Republican Bob Good by a single point in the latest poll. 

Sandy Hausman spoke with Webb and has this profile of the candidate.

And she also has this profile of Bob Good.

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Rural Patients Could Get Care at the Library

UVA’s nurses have been talking with patients once they leave the hospital, to make sure they’re doing well. If homes lack broadband, local libraries may offer space for consultations.
(Credit: Sandy Hausman)

The COVID pandemic has prompted more doctors and nurses to see their patients online, but more than 300-thousand rural residents of this state lack high speed Internet. 

Recent budget cuts in Richmond will delay the expansion of broadband, but a team at the University of Virginia is proposing another way to make telemedicine available as Sandy Hausman reports.

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