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Legislation Aims to Clear Up Confusion About Conservation Easements

In Virginia, hundreds of thousands of acres of land are protected through conservation easements.

Landowners typically donate an easement to a conservation organization, and those organizations are hoping to strengthen easements’ legal standing through a bill this legislative session.

Jahd Khalil has more. 

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Bill to Abolish Death Penalty Advances in Virginia Senate

Lawmakers may be on the verge of eliminating the death penalty in Virginia.

Michael Pope has more on the arguments.

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Va. News: Investigating Police and a Fight Over Water Rates

Nearly a dozen police departments have agreed to co-operate in investigating officer involved shootings. And one town is unhappy with its water provider which happens to be the U. S. Marine Corps.

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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State Senator Amanda Chase Faces Censure Resolution

Senator Amanda Chase speaks during Thursday’s Senate session. (Credit: Senate of Virginia livestream)

Lawmakers in the General Assembly are considering a censure of a Republican senator who spoke at the rally that led to the attack on the Capitol.

Michael Pope reports.

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Security Plans for General Assembly Session Ongoing

When Twitter permanently banned President Donald, it cited plans for attacks on unnamed state capitols.

Jahd Khalil has more on Virginia’s preparations for the General Assembly session, which begins Wednesday. 

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New Rules and Relief Programs Now in Effect for Virginia Tenants and Landlords

2020 exposed the need for eviction prevention measures in Virginia.

Now, a set of rules and relief programs are in place that could help both landlords and tenants cope with financial challenges in the coming year.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has this look at where things stand. 

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Two Virginia Republicans Defend Their Votes on Electoral College Objections

All four Republicans in Virginia’s Congressional delegation voted for objections to certifying Joe Biden’s election.

Michael Pope spoke to two of them who are defending those votes.

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Length of Session may be an Early Fight in 2021 General Assembly

Virginia’s part-time legislature meets for 60 days in even-numbered years and 30 days in odd-numbered years. So the session that begins on January 13 is supposed to be a short one. 

After a long special session last summer, some lawmakers are determined to adjourn on time, but as Sandy Hausman reports, that may not happen.

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Va. News: A Christmas Miracle and Chaperones at the Shopping Mall

Teens continue to attract scrutiny at shopping malls across Virginia. And the winner of the 1958 Miss Virginia Pageant has experienced something that looks very much like a Christmas miracle.

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 Report Suggests a Long Recovery from COVID-19 Ahead for Virginia

It could take years for Virginia’s economy to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. That’s the headline from Old Dominion University, which has released its annual look at the Commonwealth’s economy.

Nick Gilmore explains. 

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While Unemployment Lingers in Some Job Sectors, Others Bounce Back

(Credit: Virginia Economic Development Partnership)

Most parts of Virginia’s economy are suffering as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.

But, as Michael Pope reports, it’s not all doom and gloom.

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Advocates Press for more Racial, Geographic Diversity in Redistricting Commission Applicants

For the first time ever, citizens will play a role in drawing new lines for the General Assembly and Congress.

And as Michael Pope reports, the deadline for people to apply is fast approaching.

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Eagles Imperiled in Virginia

The Wildlife Center of Virginia sees 30 to 40 injured eagles each year. Two-thirds have some degree of lead poisoning. (Credit: Wildlife Center of Virginia

Forty years ago, bald eagles were endangered in this country due to lost habitat, illegal shooting and contamination of their food.  Today, the national bird has made a comeback with more than 10,000 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states.

But here in Virginia, experts say one threat remains, and they’re hoping the problem can be fixed as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Coping with Holiday Depression

Kim Penberthy is a PhD psychologist and co-author of Living Mindfully Across the Lifespan. (Credit: UVA Photo)

The holidays can be stressful, even in normal times, and mental health experts say the situation is much worse for many people during the pandemic.

Sandy Hausman spoke with one psychologist at the University of Virginia about coping strategies.

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Va. News: Fireworks Feud and Internet from the Space

A southwest Virginia community that has almost no high speed internet service will soon be getting it from space. And a request that Orange County allow regular fireworks displays in a rural area drew a lot of support but very little of it came from Orange County.

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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UVA Survey Shows Dark Times for Democracy

The 2020 election confirmed what Americans have known for some time – that the nation is deeply divided. 

To learn more about why and what we might do about it, the University of Virginia’s Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture surveyed more than 2,200 people, then issued a report. 

Sandy Hausman spoke with its authors and has this report.

They have some ideas about how our leaders might begin to build consensus as Sandy Hausman reports in part two.

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Va. News: Holiday Traditions and Trees Turning the Tide

The pandemic has made traditional holiday parades all but impossible this year, but one Virginia city has shown that where there’s a will there’s a way. And while Virginia Beach waits for major construction projects to reduce flooding the city is partnering with nature to mitigate the problem.

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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Va. News: Gone from Monument Ave. and Gone Fishin’

Rather than report for a remotely taught freshman year, two young college students from Virginia went fishing, and their parents are fine with it.  And Richmond is trying to decide who will take possession of the Confederate statues that no longer stand in the city.

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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Northam Warns of Rising Hospitalizations

More Virginians are hospitalized today for coronavirus-related health issues than at any other point during the pandemic.

Governor Ralph Northam made that announcement during a COVID-19 briefing Wednesday.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more. 

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Job Loses Linger in Leisure & Hospitality Businesses

The pandemic has created a downturn across the economy.

But as Michael Pope reports, some industries have taken a particularly hard hit in Virginia.

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Officials Prepare for Vaccine Distribution as Soon as Mid-December

Credit: CDC

With recent positive news about COVID-19 vaccines from two major pharmaceutical companies, Virginia is now planning for distribution.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, state officials say the first round could happen as early as mid-December. 

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Could Community Ownership Save Mobile Home Parks?

Residents of Ray’s and Engleside communities in Fairfax County recording a video. They want the communities saved. (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

Mobile home parks have been a source of affordable housing since the 1970s.

Now, these communities are starting to disappear as land values rise, developments crop up and the structures start to wither with age.

But a movement to preserve the neighborhoods is gaining traction across the state.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story. 

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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COVID-19 Outbreaks at Nursing Homes Smaller and Less Deadly Now Than in the Spring

Credit: CDC

While COVID-19 outbreaks at nursing homes in Virginia continue to be a leading cause of coronavirus deaths in the state, the average size and mortality rate of the outbreaks has significantly decreased in the months since the pandemic began.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Artists, Scientists Capture Ghosts of the Coast

“Unbound” drawing of roots by Barbara Hennig-Loomis (Photo Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

For Halloween, we bring you a different kind of ghost story. And it’s a ghost you’ve likely encountered.

Pamela D’Angelo reports from Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

Click here for more information about Ghosts of the Coast

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Ruling on Ballot Postmarks Likely to Impact Few Votes

A judge in the Shenandoah Valley says registrars cannot count ballots received after Election Day if they are missing information indicating when they were mailed.

The ruling strikes part of new voting regulations.

Jahd Khalil has more. 

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Judge Sides with Removal but Lee Statue will Stay Put Until Lawsuit Resolved

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

We got a ruling Tuesday afternoon in the Lee Monument case in Richmond.

A judge has sided with state officials, saying they do indeed have the power to remove the last remaining Confederate statue on Monument Avenue.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the judge also said that can’t happen until an appeal plays out.

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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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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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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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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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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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