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Pope & Schapiro: Debate Highlights And Lowlights

It’s the morning after the first debate in the 2021 campaign for governor.

As the campaigns spin winners and losers, Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope have some analysis.

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McAuliffe, Youngkin Clash Over Abortion, COVID In 1st Debate

The major-party candidates for governor squared off in the first of two debates Thursday night.

Michael Pope has a wrap up.

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Virginia Tech Breaks Ground On Innovation Campus

Virginia Tech officials ceremonially break ground on the Innovation Campus in Alexandria. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Virginia Tech is expanding its footprint in northern Virginia, a project that may end up transforming the region by creating a pipeline for careers in technology.

Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Pipeline Critics And Police Response

A federal judge will decide whether online critics of a pipeline project can remain anonymous.   And police in Fredericksburg will explore a new way of dealing with mental health emergencies.

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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Proposal Would Require Vaccination Or Testing For Air, Rail Travel

Rep. Don Beyer

As employers grapple with new vaccination requirements, one Virginia congressman has a proposal that would create a new mandate for many travelers.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Pope & Schapiro: State of the Race for Governor

Labor Day is traditionally the start of the final sprint in the campaign season.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss the status of the campaign for governor and more.

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Haven’t Voted For A While? Check Your Registration To Avoid The Purge

(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Registrars across Virginia are purging voter rolls of inactive voters.

And, as Michael Pope reports, advocates are concerned that might disenfranchise some voters.

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Texas Abortion Law Creates New Flash Point In Virginia Governor’s Race

The Supreme Court’s recent decision to allow a Texas abortion law to stand has turned up the heat in the race for governor in Virginia.

Michael Pope explains why.

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Va. News: Vaccination Requirements And A Pardon For The Martinsville Seven

Seven Black men executed for rape 70 years ago have been pardoned. And a Virginia high school is among the first in the nation to require COVID-19 vaccinations for athletes.

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 Busy Holiday Weekend Ends A Busy Summer At Virginia State Parks

Hungry Mother State Park (Credit: Virginia State Parks)

You might be planning a hike or camping trip for this Labor Day weekend. 

Reporter Jahd Khalil enjoys the outdoors, and he’s not the only one. 

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Can Virginia End Prison Gerrymandering?

The new political boundaries for the General Assembly and Congress will have an important change because of how incarcerated people are counted.

Michael Pope explains.

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Pope & Schapiro: The Campaign For Governor And An Overdue Pardon

The Republican running for governor unveiled a big campaign reset this week.  But one old issue also resurfaced.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss those developments in their weekly chat about politics and state government.

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Northam Pardons 7 Men Executed in 1951

Tuesday morning, Governor Ralph Northam pardoned seven Black men who were executed in 1951 for the rape of a white woman in Martinsville.

After the announcement, Jahd Khalil spoke with some of the people advocating for the posthumous clemency. 

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Advocates Expect Evictions To Pick Up In September

Now that the federal eviction moratorium is over, many advocates are worried about what will happen in the next few weeks.

Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Prison Staffing Problems And Regulating Pets

Possible new regulations have pet owners in Waynesboro upset.  And the head of the Virginia Department of Corrections says he needs more money for staffing.

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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VCU Poll: Majority Of Virginians Willing To Pay More

(Credit: Jahd Khalil)

Are Virginia taxpayers willing to pay more?

Michael Pope reports on a new poll from Virginia Commonwealth University that asks that question.

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Pope & Schapiro: Polls And COVID-19 Politics

Several polls this week gave a clearer view of the landscape in the race for governor.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss the implications of that and more.

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Final Order In Transgender Student’s Lawsuit: $1.3 Million In Legal Fees

A long running legal fight over transgender students’ rights to use the restroom aligned with their gender identity has come to a costly end for one rural Virginia county.

Brad Kutner has more.

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With Citizen Maps of Increasing Importance, Critics Say Redistricting Outreach is Lacking

Critics have called into question commission’s efforts to bring people out to public hearings and public meetings. (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

The Virginia Redistricting Commission has 45 days to draw new state legislative maps, starting Thursday.

An unintended hot-mic moment demonstrates how important it is for communities to speak up. But Jahd Khalil reports the commission has been criticized for its efforts to reach out to them.

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Afghan Interpreters and SIV Holders Face Housing Shortage Upon Arrival

Finding housing is an issue for many Virginians, but it’s also presenting an issue for the organizations trying to resettle some of the Afghans coming to the US on special immigrant visas.

Jahd Khalil spoke with a Virginia refugee advocate.

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VA News: Housing And Hikers

One Virginia city has made some zoning changes as college students return. And a young man from Lynchburg will have quite a story to tell his classmates in kindergarten.

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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Polls Show Many Voters Still Undecided About Choice For Governor

The race for governor is tightening up.

Michael Pope reports on new polling data that shows the race is closer than ever.

Roanoke College Poll

VCU Wilder School Poll

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The American Eagle in Virginia: A Great Conservation Story

Ed Clark, president of the Wildlife Center of Virginia, shows a 3-year-old eagle treated for broken bones and lead poisoning. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

The Wildlife Center of Virginia recently returned three bald eagles to the wild – the last of them in Grottoes’ Grand Caverns Park. 

The recovery of our national bird could be the best conservation story in Virginia, but there’s one thing we must do to ensure their future, as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Pope and Schapiro: Census Data And Redistricting

Population changes and voting districts have been in this week’s political headlines.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch and Michael Pope break down the potential impacts of the Census and redistricting.

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Should Rent Relief Start With Landlords?

Tenants across Virginia who are having a hard time making ends meet are about to get some temporary relief.

But, as Michael Pope reports, many people fear what could be coming when those protections expire.

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Pope & Schapiro: Mask Mandates And Making Judges

A quick crackdown on masks and the quick confirmation of 8 judges got the attention of the state’s political circles.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Michael Pope talk about this week’s action.

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Virginia Wants Your Climate Change Stories

Ann Phillips, special assistant to the governor for coastal adaptation and protection, talks about increased flooding in Virginia.
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

You’ve heard it before. Virginia’s coasts are sinking as sea levels rise and oceans warm, leading to bigger, more frequent weather events and flooding.

The state is now collecting stories from those now bearing the brunt of these changes.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Va. News: Righting Past Wrongs And Remembering Black Trailblazers

Virginia could issue a license plate honoring a Black-owned newspaper that campaigned for racial justice a century ago. And Martinsville City Council has asked the governor to posthumously commute the death sentences of seven Black men executed decades 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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School Masks Requirement: What is “Practicable?”

A sign on a door at a school in Hopewell (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

Governor Ralph Northam did not issue a mask mandate for schools in Virginia.

Instead he argued that legislation passed earlier this year requires masks.

Jahd Khalil has this report about mitigation and litigation.

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As Budget Emerges From Conference Committee, Advocates Hoped For More

The House of Delegates chamber (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

Members of the House of Delegates and state Senate have struck a deal to spend billions of dollars of stimulus money.

Michael Pope the latest on the negotiations. 

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Pope & Schapiro: Scenes from the Special Session

Lawmakers are making progress in a special session to spend federal stimulus money and appoint new appeals court judges.

Jeff Schapiro of the Richmond Times Dispatch and Michael Pope discuss what’s been done so far.

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Governor: Most State Workers Must Be Vaccinated Or Tested

Gov. Ralph Northam announces the new vaccine requirement. (Credit: Governor’s Office Livestream)

Governor Ralph Northam took a big step Thursday afternoon, requiring state employees to get vaccinated or submit to regular testing.

Jahd Khalil has the details.

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Redistricting Commissioners Worry About Workload And Timeline

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission during a recent meeting. (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

The commissioners who will redraw Virginia’s voting districts have said in a number of ways that they still don’t have the help they need, or enough time, to complete their work.

Jahd Khalil reports those concerns were evident at the meeting Tuesday. 

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Garden Stores Swamped by Would-Be Cannabis Growers

Happy Trees in Richmond’s Scott’s Addition offers advice and supplies for growing cannabis. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

It’s now legal in Virginia to possess small amounts of marijuana, but the only way to get it legally is to essentially grow your own. 

That’s given a big boost to business at local nurseries and garden stores as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Expanded Unemployment Benefit Targeted By Republican Senator

Lawmakers are back in Richmond for a special session.

And as Michael Pope reports, a Republican effort to end the extended unemployment benefit during the pandemic may get some unexpected support.

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Va. News: Helping Hands And Mental Health

An international non-profit is helping a small southwest Virginia town create its first park… And cases involving people with mental health issues may soon be heard in a special court in the Shenandoah Valley.

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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Pope & Schapiro: Looking Ahead To The Special Session

Lawmakers return to the Capitol next week for a special session to spend federal stimulus money and appoint judges to an expanded appeals court.

Richmond Times Dispatch columnist Jeff Schapiro and Michael Pope break it all down for us in a new weekly conversation about Virginia politics and government.

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Legislators Look To Add Diversity To Appeals Court

Lawmakers are about to appoint a half dozen new appeals court judges.

Michael Pope reports many legislators want to add some diversity to the bench.

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Redistricting Commission Holding Public Hearings

Virginia’s Redistricting Commission during a meeting in July. (Credit: Jahd Khalil)

The Virginia Redistricting Commission is about to start drawing new political boundaries for the Commonwealth.

And Michael Pope reports they’re getting an earful.

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Kaine: Virginia Leads in Rent Disbursements

Almost 50,000 families have gotten rent relief since July of last year.

Jahd Khalil reports that even though Virginia may be doing better than other states, many families are still at risk.

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Virginia Republicans Say They’re Shut Out Of Relief Money Negotiations

Lawmakers are getting ready for a special session to determine how to spend more than four billion dollars of federal stimulus money.

But as Michael Pope reports, some lawmakers are worried they won’t be able to offer much input.

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Special Session Will Remake Virginia Court Of Appeals

Judges of the Virginia Court of Appeals (Credit: Court of Appeals of Virginia Website)

Lawmakers will be back in Richmond next week to figure out how to spend more than four billion dollars of federal stimulus money.

As Michael Pope reports, they’ll also elect several new judges.

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Governor Proposes $250 million for School HVAC Systems

(Credit: Jahd Khalil)

The air children breathe in schools has always been important, but during COVID-19 that importance is especially obvious.

With billions of Federal money coming into Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam proposed a good chunk of that to improve ventilation systems in schools.

Jahd Khalil was in Hopewell for the announcement.

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Va. News: New Names And New Rockets

Rockets have been launched from Virginia’s Wallop’s Island for years. Now they may also be made in Virginia.  And five Virginia community colleges are changing their names.

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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McAuliffe Promises Ban On Sale Of Assault-style Weapons, High Capacity Magazines

Terry McAuliffe and Gabby Giffords speak during a campaign event Wednesday. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Preventing gun violence is near the top of the agenda for many voters. 

And as Michael Pope explains, it’s already becoming a hot topic in the campaign for governor.

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Va. News: New Police Data And New COVID-19 Treatment Options

A group that provides free medical services in far Southwestern Virginia has brought advanced COVID-19 treatments to the region. And a Virginia law that requires police to compile data on traffic stops has produced some enlightening information.

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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Spending More To Make Dams Safer

Carvins Cove Dam in a 2015 photo (Credit: Western Virginia Water Authority)

As Congress moves toward approval of a bill to rebuild roads, bridges and water systems in this country, the nation’s civil engineers are calling for billions of dollars to repair aging dams. 

Sandy Hausman reports on four in Virginia that could pose risks to the public.   

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Broader Food Assistance Coming July 1

Starting July 1st thousands of more Virginians will be eligible for food assistance.

Jahd Khalil has this report on the new requirements and who can qualify. 

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Va. News: Debt Relief And Don’t Feed The Birds

Thousands of Virginians with unpaid medical bills are having those debts wiped out. And people in several Virginia counties are being asked not to feed wild birds.

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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Health Officials: Don’t Fall Behind On Other Childhood Vaccinations

Credit: CDC

Virginia is on the cusp of reaching President Biden’s goal for Covid-19 vaccinations.

69.6% of adults in the state have gotten at least one dose. Biden wanted 70% to have one by the Fourth of July.

Jahd Khalil reports on the shots that come after this goal. 

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