Archive for November, 2020

Opponents of BrdsNBz Hotline Want Trump Administration to Intervene in Virginia

Credit: ASHA Twitter page

Opponents of a text hotline for teens to ask questions about sex are asking the Trump administration to take action against the program. Michael Pope reports.

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UVA Uses Smart Phones and Watches to Search for Early Signs of Sickness and Brain Injury

Scientists at UVA are combining the sensing power of smart phones, watches and rings to search for early signs of illness or injury. (Credit: UVA)

In the last 20 years Americans have learned just how dangerous concussions can be, and we know early treatment is key to a full recovery.  Now, the University of Virginia is working on a way to diagnose brain injuries sooner and to monitor patients’ recovery. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Va. News: Time Capsule Preservation and Norfolk Revitalization

A team at UVA is working to salvage damaged items from a recently unearthed time capsule. And what was expected to serve as a focal point in a revitalized area of Norfolk may never come to be.

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 Unemployment Dips, But Some are Leaving the Workforce

Virginia’s unemployment rate is down a bit, according to the latest data from the federal government.

Michael Pope explains the numbers.

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Report: Virginia Hasn’t Done Much to Improve Ethics and Transparency Since McDonnell Scandal

Credit: Coalition for Integrity Facebook Page

A few years ago, former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was involved in a political scandal over ethics. And a new report shows the Commonwealth hasn’t improved its standing since then. Michael Pope reports.

You can find the whole report here.

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Virginia Restaurants Coming to Terms with New Alcohol Restrictions

Restaurants across Virginia are adapting to new rules about when they can serve alcohol. Michael Pope reports.

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Northam: No New Restrictions Before Thanksgiving Holiday

Credit: CDC

Governor Ralph Northam is not announcing any new COVID-19 restrictions before the Thanksgiving holiday, despite the fact that the state is now reporting the highest number of daily new cases since the start of the pandemic.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Congressman Griffith Wants to Prevent People from Taking Advantage of Opioid Crisis

9th District Congressman Morgan Griffith

The opioid crisis is still gripping rural parts of Virginia, and one Virginia congressman is taking action to limit its supply. Michael Pope reports.

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Studies on School Segregation Highlight Challenges of Housing, Economics

Forced racial segregation of public schools ended decades ago in Virginia.

But as Michael Pope reports, new studies show Virginia schools remain segregated today.

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‘Legalization Will Happen’ Virginia Gov Says on Marijuana

Credit: U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration

Virginia could be poised to become the first state in the south to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Governor Ralph Northam expressed full support Monday.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more. 

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House of Delegates to Continue Virtual Meetings but Republicans Vow to Limit Length of 2021 Session

Lawmakers are preparing for the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

And, as Michael Pope reports, it probably won’t be quite as long as the special session that just wrapped up.

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Should Wolves Return to Virginia?

North Carolina is trying to bring red wolves back from extinction. Could Virginia be next?
(Credit U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

With so much attention focused on the presidential race, you may have missed this news from Colorado. 

That’s where, by just over one percent, voters asked their state to come up with a plan for reinstating wolves west of the continental divide.

There is also talk of bringing those animals back to Virginia as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Va. News: Council Cooperation and Sports Uncertainty

A story from Richmond this week has highlighted the effect of the pandemic on high school athletes. And there’s much co-operation among the nine members of Chesapeake City Council. Some people say it may be a little too much.

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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New Virginia COVID-19 Restrictions Begin Monday

Credit: CDC

Governor Ralph Northam announced a series of increased restrictions designed to combat the increase of COVID-19 cases. Nick Gilmore has details on the new restrictions set to go into effect at 12:01am Monday.

You can find more information here.

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At Least One Lawmaker Wants to Prohibit Private Prisons in Virginia

Lawmakers just ended their special session this week. But they’re already preparing for the next General Assembly session, which begins in about two months. Michael Pope has this preview of one bill that would prohibit private prisons.

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State Lawmakers Briefed on School Enrollment and the Pandemic’s Impact

Virginia schools are seeing declining enrollment – lawmakers heard details about that during a presentation from the Department of Education Thursday. Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Work is Already Underway to Establish the New Redistricting Commission

Who has the judgement to pick citizen members of the new redistricting commission? Michael Pope reports that’s a decision that will be made by retired judges.

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Think School Segregation Ended in the 50’s? This Study says it’s Increasing.

School segregation is getting worse in Virginia, not better. And one driving factor is segregation within school districts. Those are the findings of a new report out Wednesday from researchers at VCU. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Seagrass Meadows Restored Off Eastern Shore

Scientists have restored vast sea grass meadows off Virginia’s Eastern Shore. (Credit: UVA)

Virginia is celebrating a 20-year experiment off the Eastern Shore – the restoration of vast seagrass meadows where marine animals live. 

As Sandy Hausman reports, it’s the largest project of its kind in the world, offering benefits on many fronts.

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Lawmakers Set to Revisit Expungement Debate After Failing to Reach Agreement

Lawmakers have now ended their three-month special session. And, they left one important piece of business unfinished. Michael Pope reports.

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What the Link Between Heat Islands and Redlining Looks Like in One Virginia City

Shade from tree canopy and less asphalt are two factors that can reduce a neighborhood’s temperature. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

A group of researchers set out to explore how climate change is interacting with decades-old housing policy.

They overlaid two sets of maps: One set showing how neighborhoods in over 100 US cities were “red-lined” in the 1930’s. The other showing surface temperatures of the same neighborhoods today. 

To learn more about what they found, reporter Mallory Noe-Payne took a drive around Richmond with one of the scientists behind the work.

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General Assembly’s Special Session is a Wrap

A marathon special session of the General Assembly is now over.

Michael Pope reports on one last debate over a criminal justice issue.

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As State Lawmakers Consider Budget Amendments, Debate Over VMI Investigation Ensues

Members of the House of Delegates sparred Monday over a proposal from Governor Northam to fund an investigation into accounts of systemic racism at Virginia Military Institute. Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Northam’s Budget Amendments Face Final Hurdle Monday

Now that election results are in, the process of passing a state spending plan is moving forward as members of the General Assembly resume their special session Monday.

Up for consideration are a handful of budget amendments from Governor Northam.

As Cat Modlin-Jackson reports, one of those is tied to a constitutional amendment that was on the ballot. 

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Va. News: Secrets Revealed and Gold Unearthed

A Virginia veteran has finally shared some long held secrets from World War Two. And talk of a comeback for gold mining has some Central Virginia residents upset.

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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Vote Counting Continues Across the Country and in Virginia

Credit: NPR

While national attention is focused on ballots still being counted across the country, and votes are also still being tabulated here in Virginia. As of 4pm Friday, local registrars have reported about 800 additional mail-in ballots received between Election Day and noon on Friday. Mallory Noe-Payne reports. 

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Eviction-Related Protections Amendment to Be Considered by General Assembly Monday

Governor Ralph Northam is sending lawmakers an amendment to a bill aimed at helping renters during the pandemic. Michael Pope reports.

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Should Virtual Meetings Involving Public Business Continue After the Pandemic?

During the pandemic, people have gotten used to the idea of virtual meetings. But when the pandemic is over, how much government business should be conducted online? Michael Pope reports about a bill that might come under consideration in January.

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Spanberger Claims Win

Democrat Abigail Spanberger is declaring victory in her reelection bid in Virginia’s 7th congressional district.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports she addressed supporters Wednesday night. 

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What Happens Now That the Redistricting Amendment Has Been Approved?

Credit: NPR

Voters have approved a constitutional amendment creating a new redistricting commission, which now has a dizzying series of deadlines it must meet. Michael Pope has this preview of the work ahead.

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State Election Officials Reflect on Efforts to Safely Vote in a Pandemic

As the polls closed yesterday, Commissioner of Elections Chris Piper talked about the changes and challenges Virginia saw during this election. Jahd Khalil has more.

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Mark Warner Wins Third Term in U.S. Senate

Warner delivered his victory speech virtually Tuesday night. (Credit: Michael Pope)

U.S. Senator Mark Warner has declared victory in his re-election bid. As Michael Pope reports, he’s heading back to Washington for a third term.

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Some Voters Keep Election Day Tradition

Voters at a Richmond precinct (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Officials with Virginia’s Department of Elections say it’s been a smooth election day so far.

There have been some minor and routine issues with voting machines. No reports of voter intimidation.

Reporters Mallory Noe-Payne and Michael Pope found lines to be be short, and voters moving quickly through the polls.  

Mallory Noe-Payne reports from Richmond:

Michael Pope reports from Northern Virginia:

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Va. Dept. of Elections Reports Few Problems So Far

Going into the last hours of voting, election officials are optimistic that high early voting numbers mean smooth voting for those planning to still cast their votes Tuesday.

2.75 million Virginians already cast their votes early.

Jahd Khalil reports that’s 69-percent of 2016’s total turnout. 

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COVID-19 Creates New Challenges for Homeless Looking to Escape the Cold

In Harrisonburg, buses shuttle people needing shelter to facilities that can better maintain physical distancing during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

As the nights get colder, many Virginians experiencing homelessness will try to navigate shelter systems upended by COVID-19.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this look at how people across the state are preparing for an unprecedented winter.

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Election Day Preview: What Is and Isn’t Allowed at Your Polling Place

Credit: NPR

OK, so you’re heading to the polls on Election Day. Here’s some advice for what you can do while you’re there. Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Universal Basic Income & Community Rules

Richmond will be joining several other cities in testing the potential benefit of direct cash payments to low income families…and a Northern Virginia couple who decided to use Halloween to make statements about social issues has run afoul of community rules.

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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