Connie Stevens

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New Laws: Changes to VA’s Sex Offender Registry

Sex offender registryWith the General Assembly session now wrapped up, Virginia has more than 300 new laws on the books. This week we’ll take a look at a handful of those laws — which all go into effect July first.  We start off today with changes to Virginia’s sex offender registry. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Regulating Fantasy Sports in VA

Fantasy FootballVirginia has become the first state to legalize daily fantasy sports — the flipside? The state will also now regulate the quickly growing business. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Ten Leading Trends in Higher Education

Crisis Book 01The Chronicle of Higher Education is out with its second annual assessment of trends on campus.  Sandy Hausman reports on what the Chronicle found in studying colleges and universities in 2016.


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Richmond School Confronts Past, Changes Name

Harry Byrd.pngA middle school outside Richmond is seeking suggestions for a new name. The change comes after almost a year long fight to get rid of the old one — the school? Byrd Middle School in Henrico County. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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How a Rural Black Community is Using a Museum and Discussion of White Privilege to Grow

Holley Graded School

The western shores of the Chesapeake Bay have a deep history of slavery. One black community is memorializing its past and engaging its white community in moving forward. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Ten Leading Trends in Higher Education

Crisis Book 01The Chronicle of Higher Education is out with its second annual assessment of trends on campus.  Sandy Hausman reports on what the Chronicle found in studying colleges and universities in 2016. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Virginia Community Living Diversity

Achmed Osman Sudanese refugee teaches computer classes at Arlington Mill Center,  off Columbia Pike, Arlington VA Columbia Pike Documentary Project

Achmed Osman, Sudanese refugee
teaches computer classes at Arlington Mill Center, off Columbia Pike, Arlington VA
Columbia Pike Documentary Project

During the current presidential campaign, the nation seems more divided than ever, but a team of photographers from Virginia has set out to show how one community – home to dozens of different ethnic groups – is making diversity work.  Sandy Hausman reports.

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VaNews: The Most-Read Stories

VPAPnewA request from a student has led to a significant policy change by a Virginia school division…and two firefighters are back at work thanks in part to a show of support from the public.  Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on

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General Assembly Elects McCullough to Virginia Supreme Court


It’s over. Court of Appeals Judge Stephen McCullough has been elected to the Virginia Supreme Court-with lots of dissent from mostly Democrats, including Governor McAuliffe. Tommie McNeil has coverage from the State Capitol.

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Forsaken: A Black Child Executed in Virginia

Forsaken 02The Black Lives Matter movement has revived discussion of a problem that has persisted in this nation’s history since the time of slavery – the unequal treatment of African-Americans by police and the justice system. It’s a subject that distresses Ross Howell, author of a new book about a black teenager who was executed in Virginia more than a hundred years ago. Sandy Hausman has details.

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VaNews: Candidate Security, Habitual Drunkenness Considered

VPAPnewIn theory, presidential campaigns pay for security when a candidate holds a public rally. But in fact, you may be covering that expense…

And Virginia may soon be defending it’s law against habitual drunkenness in court. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on Fred Echols reports.

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Challenging a Law that Jails Alcoholics

NPR alcoholicsVirginia’s Legal Aid Justice Center is suing the state in federal court to get rid of an old law that allows courts to label people as habitual drunkards and to lock them up for a year if they’re found in possession of alcohol.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

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VA is 1st in the Nation When it Comes to Website

websiteWith just one week left in Virginia’s General Assembly, the state already has 135 new laws on the books — and will be adding many more before it’s over. Luckily, you’ll easily be able to browse all of Virginia’s laws on it’s legal website, which is considered one of the best in the country. Mallory Noe Payne reports.

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At the Polls

Gov Votes 01Voting is underway in 12 states today for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, including Virginia. Governor Terry McAuliffe cast his vote in Richmond, first thing this morning. Mallory Noe-Payne was there.

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Super Tuesday: What’s At Stake

NPR Elections 2016Super Tuesday IS a big deal, but it’s not necessarily the be-all-end-all for presidential contenders. While this may explain why some candidates have not dropped out of the race, determining how delegates are tallied is complex—with 595 delegates at stake for Republicans and 1,004 for Democrats in a single day.    And as Tommie McNeil reports, the Super Tuesday states and territory include Virginia—for both political parties. 


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Super Tuesday: How to Vote

VoteHereTuesday is an election day — Virginians’ turn to get their say in who should be the Republican or Democratic nominee for President. For those who still have basic questions, Mallory Noe-Payne lays out how to vote.

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VaNews: Airport Parking, Fantasy Sports

VPAPnewNorfolk’s airport is among the largest in the country to have no access by public transportation…and Virginia is on the brink of becoming the first state to license online fantasy sports games.  Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews on Fred Echols has more.

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Super Tuesday in Virginia

SuperTuesdayVirginia is one of a dozen ‘Super Tuesday’ states voting in their Republican contests tomorrow.  One the Democratic side, we’re one of eleven. And if you’re wondering if your vote counts in such a big election, here’s why it does.  Robbie Harris reports.





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State Snake Sliding Through General Assembly

Virginia has a state bird… a state tree… but what about a state snake? Lawmakers this year have made a bit of a surprising pick — the Eastern Garter Snake.  As Mallory Noe-Payne reports the choice might have more to do with the snake’s main proponent, than the animal itself.


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Lawmakers on Court, the Basketball Court

Cap Classic 02In a break from legislative action, Virginia’s lawmakers took to the court Tuesday night — the basketball court. An annual fundraiser for Virginia Commonwealth University’s cancer center, the Capitol Classic throws together politicians, lobbyists, and the Governor’s staff in friendly competition. Mallory Noe-Payne was there and filed this report.

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Counting Eagles

Eagle Den Smith Creative Commons

Creative Commons/Den Smith

A yearly consensus is about to begin in waterways leading to the Chesapeake Bay.. a count of nesting bald eagle pairs. There was a time when their very survival in Virginia was in doubt, but as Evan Jones reports, their numbers now may be nearing the saturation point.

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Multiple Tornadoes Confirmed in Virginia

NWS logoThe day after Virginia was battered by at least three confirmed tornadoes, Governor Terry McAuliffe visited the hardest-hit regions of the state to assess the damage.

The governor visited Appomattox—where one of the state’s four tornado deaths was recorded as a funnel cloud left an 8-to-10 mile path of debris, and injured seven. About 100 structures were damaged– 20 severely– including some that were flattened.

Governor McAuliffe also visited Waverly, where three people were killed as a confirmed tornado carved a five mile path of destruction there. And he toured the damage in Essex County, where at least 15 structures were destroyed and 25 people were injured, in a confirmed tornado.

The National Weather Service continues surveying several areas to confirm whether tornadoes touched down. Crews are fanning out in the Richmond area, Southside, and the Northern Neck, looking for signs of tornadoes.

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Determining the Fate of the Cownose Ray

Cownose Rays 02Oyster restoration efforts around the Chesapeake Bay come with a variety of concerns including one that returns every spring with the annual migration of the cownose ray. A new Florida State University report published by Nature is using new data to refute claims that cownose rays are responsible for the collapse of the oyster industry. Pamela D’Angelo reports.


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Dancing the Budget Tango

tango shoesEven before the fight erupted over whether to replace deceased Justice Antonin Scalia, President Obama and Republicans in Congress were squaring off on the nation’s spending priorities. Republicans from the region are proving a thorn in the president’s side on the final budget he sent to Congress, as our correspondent, Matt Laslo, reports from Washington.

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Poll at the Legislative Crossover: A Divided Virginia

Virginia_State_CapitolAs we pass the halfway point for the state General Assembly, a new poll from Christopher Newport University reveals what many Virginians’ think of this year’s hot topics.  Virginians, like their lawmakers, are divided on issues of gun control, medicaid expansion, and gay rights.Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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VaNews Includes Trains Through Town, Food Bank Donations

VPAPnewResidents of a Richmond suburb are happy to have Amtrak trains running through their town but they don’t especially want additional tracks added…and the General Assembly may soon enact a benefit for farmers who donate produce to food banks. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at Fred Echols has more.

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Tangier Island Residents Fight for Jetty

Tangier Jetty 03After years of waiting for a jetty to protect their harbor, residents of Tangier Island thought the deal was done. Then came a rumor that Virginia’s share of the cost was removed from the governor’s budget. It turned out to be true. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Teacher Pay Raise May Be Too Little, Too Late

Teacher Gift CC 01According to a new poll from the Virginia Education Association, almost three quarters of Virginians say teachers in the state don’t make enough money. It looks like teachers will be getting a raise in this year’s budget — But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the question is how much.

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Bill would Give Public Dollars Back to Home and Private School Parents


pencils_main_0If you don’t have kids you still have to pay the taxes that support public schools, just like everyone else. But Republicans in the state legislature are putting weight behind an educational measure that would change that.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports on a bill that would allow parents who send their kids to private school or home-school to get some of their tax money back.


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Proposals to Change VA’s Sex Offender Registry

Sex offender registryState lawmakers will soon consider a bill that could make it easier for convicted sex offenders to find employment when they get out of prison.  It passed easily in the Senate, but Sandy Hausman reports it may fail in the House, and at least one expert thinks it might not make that much difference.

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Saving Chincoteague Beach


Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge was hit hard by last week’s winter storm. Wind gusts of up to 85 miles per hour created a pounding surf that carried away parts of the beach and parking lot. This is normal for a barrier island, but it’s a huge problem for the nearby town of Chincoteague. Like many of Virginia’s coastal towns and islands, money is the only thing that can save them.  Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Bill Creates Tax Exemption for Feminine Hygiene Products

hygieneMedication is exempt from sales tax in Virginia, and one other category could be included in that group if the legislature approves.  As Sandy Hausman reports, lawmakers are considering a bill to stop taxing feminine hygiene products.

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Virginians Want Changes to Juvenile Justice System

VCU JailVirginians are in strong favor of changes to the juvenile justice system, that’s according to a new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University.  As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s good thing — because improving the system is on the agenda for lawmakers this legislative session.


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Attempts to Undo Gun Control Executive Order

Executive Order CCO Public Domain

CCO Public Domain

Opponents of new gun control laws have set their sights on two executive orders issued by the governor – vowing to undo Terry McAuliffe’s limits on those who want to carry concealed weapons in the Commonwealth.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

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GO VIRGINIA State Incentive Plan

GO VAVirginia has a new economic development proposal for regions within the state…it’s an effort to take some of the decision-making out of the hands of lawmakers and place it back into the hands of stakeholders.  But as Tommie McNeil reports, the concept called “Go Virginia” is also getting some mixed reviews.

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VA Legislature Considering Bills That Would Require Search Warrant for Electronic Files

Computer SecurityCalifornia has approved a new set of laws to protect the privacy of data, and with half of all e-mails in this country passing through data centers in Virginia, this could be the next state to take action. The legislature is considering bills that would require police to get a search warrant if they want a look at your electronic files. Sandy Hausman reports.

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Lawmakers Consider Incentives to Help Homeowners Cut Energy Costs

Kilowatt Hours Creative Commons

Creative Commons

Lawmakers in Richmond are reviewing a bill that would help Virginians cut their energy costs, but critics say it could make power more expensive for customers.

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VA Lawmakers Waiting for Key Points in State of the Union

sotu2016_logo_banner_0Tonight, January 12, President Obama will deliver his last State of the Union address at the U-S Capitol. Matt Laslo will be there and he caught up with Virginia lawmakers about what they’re hoping to hear.

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Some Education Proposals Don’t Make the Grade with VA’s Teachers


Governor Terry McAuliffe has proposed a series of changes to public education aimed at preparing students to join the workforce, but Virginia’s  teachers may not like some of his ideas.  Sandy Hausman reports.

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VA Could Build Two New Prisons for Kids


VA Dept of Juvenile Justice

On any given day, the state of Virginia is dealing with about 5,000 kids who’ve broken the law.  Some are on probation or parole.  Others are in community programs, but about 400 are locked up.  Eighty percent of them end up committing new crimes within three years of being released.  Now, lawmakers in Richmond will debate reforming the juvenile justice system by building two new detention centers. Sandy Hausman reports.

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VA Delegation on Gun Control


Gun Club

Image: Creative Commons

President Obama started the New Year off by refocusing Washington and the nation on gun control. Matt Laslo reports from Washington that he may have inadvertently broadened the gulf between him and Republicans who control Capitol Hill.

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VaNews: Help for Craft Breweries

VPAPnewA Virginia state senator wants to lend a legislative helping hand to craft breweries in the Commonwealth…and the town of Leesburg is giving some thought to separating from Loudon County and becoming a city. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link at More now from Fred Echols.

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State Grant Money to Help Northern Neck Bring Tech Jobs Back to U.S.

Secretary Jones with the Northern Neck team.

Secretary Jones with the Northern Neck team.

Five economically distressed  regions of Virginia are receiving grants to stimulate job growth.  Maurice Jones, Virginia’s Secretary of Commerce, traveled to the Northern Neck Friday to personally hand over a $70,000 check for a new center to help bring technology jobs back to the U.S. Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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There’s More to a Good Deal than a Good Price

Present (2)

Creative Commons

This holiday season turned many consumers into bargain sleuths, trying to figure out the best deals, the best time to buy…. more decisions to make than ever before. But researchers say, it’s becoming clear that there’s also more to a great deal than price alone. Robbie Harris reports.

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Winter Botany at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden


Credit: Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden

Recent record highs this winter may have you seeing green in your garden long before you should. Reporter Mallory Noe-Payne visited Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, to see what’s blooming.

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The Bottom Line vs. the Waistline


credit card and cash creative commons

Photo: Creative Commons

It’s the time of year when people may be feeling they are maxed out on their credit cards. So is it time to go ‘cash only?’  Researchers at Virginia Tech’s Pamplin School of Business warn, there’s a subtle catch to using cash. It may lead you to splurge even more.  Robbie Harris reports.

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Gov. McAuliffe Visits Cuba, Hoping to Bring Business to VA

Cuba Creative Commons

Creative Commons/Photographer Bud Ellison

Governor Terry McAuliffe is in the midst of a three-day trip to Cuba, hoping to drum up new business for Virginia, but as Sandy Hausman reports, his mission could benefit businesses nationwide.

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Maymont: Gilded Age on Display

Maymont 02

Photo Courtesy of Maymont, Dennis McWaters

Christmas may have come and gone, but that doesn’t mean the festivities have ended everywhere. In Richmond, more than half a million people visit Maymont each year — a gilded age estate that’s still decorated for the holidays. Mallory Noe-Payne visited and files this report.

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Out-of-State Concealed Gun Permits Rejected in VA

Guns Creative Commons

Photo Credit: Creative Commons

Gun owners from out of state will find it harder to carry a concealed weapon in Virginia, beginning this February. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring says the state will no longer recognize concealed carry permits issued by other states whose standards aren’t as strict as Virginia’s.

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VCU Students Want a More Diverse Faculty

VCU Christopher Brooks

Christopher Brooks in his office on the VCU campus.

Virginia Commonwealth University is one of the state’s most diverse four-year colleges. But if you’re a student there you may not see that diversity in who’s teaching you. While 15% of VCU students are African-American, only 5% of full-time faculty are. Students are demanding that VCU fix that problem– and fast. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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