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Virginia Republicans Back Trump’s Plan to use Military Money for Border Wall

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(Credit: Rog Cogswell via flickr.com / CC)

Virginia Democrats are not happy with President Trump’s plan to divert money from Virginia military facilities in order to construct portions of his southern border wall.

But, as Matt Laslo reports, Republicans support the effort.

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The Next Challenge for Expanded Medicaid

Part 1: Accessing Care

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Since Medicaid expanded, Sentara Norfolk General Hospital has seen a 3.5% uptick in Medicaid charges, and a corresponding decrease in uninsured patients. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Hundreds of thousands of Virginians now have something they didn’t have this time last year– health insurance through Medicaid.

Lawmakers lowered the requirements for the state-run health insurance program in January.

But just because someone has health insurance, doesn’t mean they’re accessing healthcare.

This week we take a look at Medicaid expansion – nine months in.  Mallory Noe-Payne begins in Norfolk.

Part 2: Finding a Doctor

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Dr. Karen Ransone and husband Dr. Sterling Ransone have had a busy summer. They’ve seen an influx of new patients because of Medicaid expansion. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Since Medicaid expansion passed, more than 300,000 Virginians have gotten health insurance.  They’re visiting the doctor, getting prescriptions filled, and even accessing cancer treatment.

But earlier this summer Mallory Noe-Payne visited rural Eastern Virginia, where not everyone is able to get an appointment.

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Omega Protein Exceeds Menhaden Cap for Chesapeake Bay

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Omega ships tied up at the company’s plant in Reedville. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Last week, Omega Protein, a menhaden (men-HAY-den) fishing fleet, exceeded the amount of fish they were told they could harvest from the Chesapeake Bay.

Omega, renders the fish into food for farm-raised fish and oil supplements for people.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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McEachin Bill Aims to Increase Solar Power in Lower Income Communities

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Rep. Donald McEachin

 

What can solar energy do for low-income communities?

Michael Pope reports one Virginia congressman thinks it can boost the economy while also combating climate change.

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Va. News: Zero Candidates and Medical Marijuana for Kids

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In a possible first among Virginia cities, the election for Clerk of Court in Petersburg will have zero candidates on the ballot…and medical marijuana can now be given to students by school nurses in Virginia.

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 Gets Low Marks for Ethics Enforcement

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How transparent is Virginia government?

One new report says the commonwealth is falling far behind other states.

Michael Pope reports.

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Crozet Hosts First Public Autonomous Shuttle in Virginia

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  TONY, short for To Navigate You, is a kit made by Perrone Robotics. It transforms any vehicle into a self-driving unit. This one is now offering free shuttle service in Crozet.
(Credit Perrone Robotics)

There’s been lots of talk about autonomous vehicles — cars and trucks that drive themselves– and there are several demonstration projects around the nation.

But a Virginia company believes it’s the first to offer public rides on public roads.

Sandy Hausman caught a lift in Crozet, a small town west of Charlottesville.

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Refunds On the Way, But Not for All Virginians

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Beginning late next week, Virginians should keep an eye on their mailboxes for a letter from the state.

In it will be a check… a tax refund thanks to a budget move by state lawmakers earlier this year.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Virginia Joins Growing Number of States Suing the Sacklers

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Attorney General Mark Herring

Just hours before many states and local governments reached a legal settlement with Purdue Pharma, Virginia’s Attorney General announced a separate lawsuit against the family that owns it.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the latest.

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Episcopal Seminary in Virginia Starts Slavery Reparations Fund

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What kind of reparations could begin to make amends for slavery?

Michael Pope has this report about a new two-million dollar effort in Alexandria.

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Regulators Weigh Dominion’s Request to Raise Profit Margins

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Dominion Energy is asking state regulators for permission to make more money.

Mallory Noe-Payne was at the State Corporation Commission Tuesday and has this report.

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Does Virginia Need RGGI If Emmissions Are Already Falling?

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Should Virginia work with other states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions?

Voters may end up deciding that issue this November.

Michael Pope reports.

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Kaine Fears Break Down of Taliban Talks Will Lead to More Deaths

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Sen. Tim Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine was in Charlottesville Monday for the naming of a U.S. Post Office in honor of Captain Humayun Khan, a Muslim-American killed in Iraq when he stopped a suicide bomber from reaching troops in a military base.

Afterward, Kaine expressed dismay over President Trump’s tweet calling off peace talks in Afghanistan and the administration’s decision to use military dollars for a border wall.

Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Northam Announces New Director of Diversity

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Janice Underwood (Credit: Old Dominion University)

Virginia Governor’s announced a new top-level advisor Monday. Her job is, in part, to help diversify the state workforce.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the latest from the capitol.

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Va. News: 25 Years since Disney Theme Park was scrapped, Bland County cancels Football Season

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This month marks the 25th anniversary of the collapse of Disney’s plan to open a major historical theme park in Virginia. And another Virginia high school has canceled its varsity football season.

Those have been among the most read stories on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

 

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Surprise Medical Bills Get Attention

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Credit: Chris Dlugosz / Flickr

Insurance companies and health-care providers are engaged in a pitched lobbying effort in Washington and Richmond on surprise billing.

Michael Pope reports.

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Northern Virginia Communities Remove Jefferson Davis Name from Highway

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Jefferson Davis in 1855 (Credit: Brady-Handy photograph collection, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division)

The name Jefferson Davis is slowly being removed from public highways.
But as Michael Pope reports, the civil war of old names remains an open conflict.

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Does Hurricane Dorian Have You Thinking About Surviving A Disaster?

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Emergency operations planners brainstorm about tips for disaster preparedness in the Alexandria Emergency Operations Center. (Credit: Michael Pope)

September is National Preparedness Month.

So even without Hurricane Dorian, people are thinking about surviving a disaster or terrorist attack.

Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Native Americans Fight to Save Historic Site

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(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

In Central Virginia, at a point where two rivers merge, there’s a little-known site with great historical value.

For centuries, it was home to the chief village of the Monacan Indian Nation.

Today, the Monacan Tribe is fighting to keep the area untouched as officials in Fluvanna and Louisa Counties push to put a water pump there.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the story.

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Wexton Bill Aims to Protect Transgender People who are Homeless

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Credit: John Brighenti / Flickr

When Congress gets back into session, one bill members will consider was introduced by a freshman House Democrat hoping to protect transgender people who are homeless.

Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Saving a Historic Black Cemetery, Police testing Construction Zone Law

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A new Virginia law limiting cell phone use by drivers is getting an early test. And a Northern Virginia Boy Scout is leading an effort to restore a neglected cemetery for African Americans.

Those have been among the most read stories on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Alexandria Prosecutor Plans Diversion Instead of Prosecution of Marijuana Cases

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Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Marijuana possession is still against the law in Virginia.

But one Northern Virginia prosecutor is taking action to sidestep prosecution for low-level offenders.

Michael Pope reports.

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Oxfam: Virginia Ranks Poorly for Worker Protections

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Virginia has a well-known reputation as being a state that’s good for business. But what about workers?

Michael Pope reports.

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Northam Inches Up in Polls

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Gov. Ralph Northam

Polling from Roanoke College shows approval for Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is on the rise.

He’s up to a 37% approval rating. That’s a five point uptick since February when a racist photo was discovered on his medical school yearbook page.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at where Virginia’s Governor stands now, six months later.

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Efforts to Limit Haze in National Parks May Be Hurt By New Federal Guidelines

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  Air pollution or haze hurts scenic views in Shenandoah National Park. The National Park Service has documented the effect on the park’s views back into the 1990’s.
(Credit” Interagency Monitoring of Protected Visual Environments)

When you think about a national park, you probably think about fresh air, but the fact is that pollution blows through many of our parks, including the Shenandoah.

The Environmental Protection Agency came up with a rule to address air quality, but park advocates complain that the Trump administration is getting in the way of improvements.

Sandy Hausman explains.

 

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Attorney General: Local Governments Can Exercise Zoning Authority Over Gun Stores

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Credit: MBandman / Creative Commons

Do local governments across Virginia have zoning authority to tell gun stores where they can be located and, maybe more importantly, where they can’t be located?

Michael Pope reports.

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Herring: Oklahoma Ruling Encouraging for Virginia Opioid Lawsuit

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Creative Commons via flickr.com

A judge in Oklahoma ruled yesterday/Monday the company Johnson and Johnson is partially responsible for the opioid epidemic there. The drug-maker has been ordered to pay half a billion dollars.

Virginia wasn’t a party in that case, but as Mallory Noe-Payne reports the ruling could still have implications for the Commonwealth.

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Roanoke College Poll: Democrats Have Momentum As Fall Campaign Approaches

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Next week is Labor Day and the traditional beginning of the campaign season in Virginia.

As Michael Pope reports, a new poll shows Democrats are poised to do very well.

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Virginia Marks Women’s Equality Day

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US Census Bureau Data

Virginia marked Women’s Equality Day Monday.

But as Michael Pope reports, there’s still no equality between the genders in Virginia when it comes to pay.

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Honoring Black Patriots

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Charles Jameson looks on as fellow reenactors Charles Belfield, George Beckett and fire muskets in a salute to black patriots of the Revolutionary War.
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

It’s been nearly two-and-a-half centuries since the Revolutionary War and still very little is known about Virginia’s black patriots.

Some were promised freedom and went into battle. Others produced weapons, clothing and food.

In the Tidewater Region, the Northern Neck of Virginia Historical Society is recognizing the role of black patriots in winning the war.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Protecting Student Borrowers

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(Credit: 401(K) 2012 via Flickr.com / CC)

Is the federal government doing enough to protect people with student loans?

Michael Pope reports that one Virginia Congressman is seeking action on the issue.

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The Appalachian Trail Hopes to Lure New Communities of Hikers

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  Shalin Desai celebrates completing his AT hike from Georgia to Maine. Now he’s organizing groups to enjoy and maintain the trail.
(Credit: Shalin Desai)

The Appalachian Trail stretches nearly 2,200 miles from Georgia to Maine, and it depends on volunteers to keep the path clear.

The Appalachian Trail Conservancy is now trying to interest more people in the job – especially those who have not, historically, been part of the hiking community.

Sandy Hausman has details.

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‘Honoring the Journey’ 400 Years of African-American History at Fort Monroe

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(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

400 years ago, the first enslaved Africans arrived to English North America. That moment would set the trajectory of a nation.

The story begins in 1619. In western Africa, a village is raided and the people that lived there are put on a ship and forced to go to the New World. Through piracy and storms, about twenty land eventually in Point Comfort, Virginia.

Today the site is called Fort Monroe and it’s a National Monument.

Mallory Noe-Payne spoke about the history and future with Superintendent Terry Brown.

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In Richmond, Virtually all Juveniles Stopped for Curfew Violations Were African-Americans

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  Robert Morris, commissioner for RVA League for Safer Streets. Many of the young men he works with have been stopped by police. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Earlier this year Richmond Police released a trove of data. It revealed who in the city is stopped by law enforcement, and why.

The numbers show large racial disparities in stops for things like suspicious activity, and disorderly conduct.

Mallory Noe-Payne takes a look at the most drastic disparity– curfew violations.

 

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Appalachia to become Hotter Wetter AND Drier in Climate Model with Severe Economic Impacts

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Appalachia is known for its abundance of water. But a new study finds that climate change could have a strange effect here, causing both more floods and more droughts.

Robbie Harris reports.

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Changing Climate May be Moving a Subtropical Disease North

Pythium Pathogen grown from Chincoteage water samples

  Pythium Pathogen grown from Chincoteage water samples. (Credit Erica Goss)

At Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge on the Eastern Shore, a herd of wild ponies is under attack by a deadly infection.

So far, eight female ponies have died, and the volunteer fire department that owns the herd is fighting to prevent additional deaths.

Pamela D’Angelo reports the region’s changing climate is creating an ideal environment for the disease.

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Scientists Stalk a Microscopic Monster Killing Chincoteague’s Famous Ponies

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  Veterinarian Richard Hansen inspects ponies. (Credit Pamela D’Angelo)

For the past three years, a mysterious micro-organism has been infecting the famous wild ponies of Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge.

The infection is known as swamp cancer and it has killed eight female ponies so far.

The volunteer fire department that owns the herd and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which oversees the refuge, have brought in scientists and veterinarians to try to eliminate the culprit and cure the disease.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Va. News: Highway tolls bringing in their Share of Money, private War Games in Hanover County

VPAPnewPrivate war games in Hanover County have some neighbors upset. And the toll road industry in the Hampton Roads area is now bigger than some of the region’s better known economic mainstays.

 

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: UVA works to memoralize Enslaved Workers, a physician’s tips for Electric Scooter safety

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Rental scooters provide a new transportation alternative but if riders get careless they could finish their trip in an ambulance.

And the University of Virginia is working to memorialize the contributions of enslaved people.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More from Fred Echols.

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License Suspended? You May Be Eligible To Get it Back

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Governor Ralph Northam greets workers at a mobile DMV office in Roanoke. (Credit David Seidel)

Just under 35,000 people in Virginia have gotten their driver’s license back. That’s since July 1st, when a new policy stopped the practice of suspending licenses as a punishment for not paying court fines.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the next push is reaching the hundreds of thousands who are eligible, but just need to apply.

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Donors Look to Protect Interests in 2019 Election

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New campaign finance disclosures are revealing the contours of Election 2019.

Michael Pope explains how.

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Va. News: Database shows opioid stats in Martinsville, a New Way of raising poultry

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Organic chicken farming and industrial chicken production have been polar opposites up until now. But a Virginia man is looking to change that.

And newly released numbers show how some Virginia communities have been inundated by opioids. 

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 Study Shows Women and Seniors at Greater Risk of Car Crash Injuries

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  Experts say new crash dummies and computer models may help design safer cars for women and people over 65.  (Credit UVA)

A team of engineers at the University of Virginia reviewed data from nearly 23,000 crashes and concluded there are some big problems with car safety systems.

Sandy Hausman reports that women and people over 65 are at extra risk.

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Analysts: Photo Fallout Creates Challenges for Northam PAC

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Gov. Ralph Northam

It’s been five months since Democratic Governor Ralph Northam’s blackface scandal upended Virginia politics.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, new campaign finance disclosures show the governor’s political action committee is up and running.

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Water Power’s Potential in Virginia

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Grande Dixence is the tallest gravity dam in the world. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Faced with worrisome warnings of climate change, Virginia is weighing green options for producing energy.

Solar and wind are sources favored by this state’s two largest utilities, but what about water power?  Virginia is blessed with mountains and rivers.

Sandy Hausman traveled to a place where dams provide 60-percent of the power to report on the prospects for hydro in Virginia.

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Wildlife Center’s Plea for Possums

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  Alex Wehring and educational outreach possum Posey enjoy an eclectic lunch at the Wildlife Center of Virginia. (Credit Sandy Hausman)

This month the Wildlife Center of Virginia marked a milestone: Caring for its 800,000 patient – a possum.

In years past, rabbits have been the most common animals cared for at the clinic in Waynesboro, but today it’s possums that claims the title.

Sandy Hausman reports on why those animals are vulnerable to injury and why you might want to protect them.

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Va. News: Rains in Arlington tear down Historic Wall, High School League online gaming

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Virginia students who might not be all that interested in traditional sports now have a chance to represent their high schools in a new kind of competition. And a storm has taken down much of what remained of a 1930’s “segregation wall.”

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 Technology Could Detangle the Dangerous Relationship Between Sharks and Commercial Fishermen

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The number of shark attacks on the east coast has increased, but experts say we shouldn’t blame them.

The problem, they claim, is the human population keeps growing, and more people are going to the beach.

And sharks are themselves under attack.  Sandy Hausman reports on why, and on what Virginia scientists are doing to protect them.

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Analysis Shows Higher Minimum Wage Would Cost Some Jobs But Give Raises to Millions

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Credit: Chris Dlugosz via Flickr/CC

Virginia Congressman Bobby Scott is using his position as chairman of the Education and Labor Committee to push for a 15-dollar an hour minimum wage.

Michael Pope reports a new analysis is a mixed bag for that effort.

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Virginia Legislature Abruptly Adjourns Gun Session

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House Democratic Leader Eileen Filler-Corn asks Republican Speaker Kirk Cox to bring all eight of the governor’s gun-control bills to the House floor for an up or down vote. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Lawmakers are leaving the Capitol empty handed after a brief special session on gun control.

Michael Pope has this report from the Capitol.

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