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Voters Turn Out for Democratic Presidential Primary… And Say They’ll be Back in November

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It’s Virginia’s turn. Voters in the Commonwealth get to register their voices in the Democratic Presidential primary.

Mallory Noe-Payne chatted with some of those voters at a polling place in downtown Richmond.

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With Northam’s Signature, Virginia Joins List of States Banning Conversion Therapy

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Governor Ralph Northam has signed a bill making it illegal to practice so-called “conversion therapy” on children in Virginia.

Michael Pope reports.

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Northam Weighs Exemptions to Paid Sick Days

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Gov. Ralph Northam

Governor Ralph Northam is considering how to handle a bill mandating paid sick days.

As Michael Pope reports, he’s considering a change that advocates say could undermine the purpose of the bill.

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House Says “I Do” But Senate Panel Says “I Don’t”

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Democrats in the more conservative state Senate are taking the edges off a lot of the more progressive bills passed by the House of Delegates.

As Michael Pope reports, one of those bills changes who is authorized to perform weddings.

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With Time Running Out, Redistricting Amendment Headed to House Floor

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Members of the Virginia House of Delegate will vote on a constitutional amendment that could dramatically change how legislative districts are drawn.

Michael Pope reports.

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Senate Committee Kills Dominion Energy Oversight Bill

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A bipartisan measure that would have given state regulators more oversight over Dominion’s utility rates has died in a Senate committee.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details on Monday evening’s vote.

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Sec of Public Safety: Experience With Previous Outbreaks Provides Insight For COVID-19

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Sec. of Public Safety Brian Moran

So far, Virginia has seen no confirmed cases of the new coronavirus – COVID-19.

But state agencies are gearing up and keeping track of people at increased risk for contracting the disease.

Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Young Voters Feel Primary Excitement

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Voters between the ages of 18 and 23 make up about 10% of the electorate this year, according to the Pew Research Center.

That could be a make-or-break margin for the list of candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Absentee Voting Points to Lower Super Tuesday Turnout

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The Virginia Board of Elections says about 80,000 people asked for an absentee ballot for the Democratic presidential primary tomorrow.

About 55,000 ballots have been returned. And that’s pointing to a low turnout on Super Tuesday.

Joe Staniunas has more.

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Young Voters Feel Primary Excitement

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Credit: justgrimes via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Voters between the ages of 18 and 23 make up about 10% of the electorate this year, according to the Pew Research Center.

That could be a make-or-break margin for the list of candidates on Tuesday’s ballot.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Va. News: Renovations planned at Jefferson Pools, Trees could fight Virginia Beach rising waters

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A tourist attraction that reportedly drew a visit from Thomas Jefferson is set for a long needed renovation.  And as a rising sea level encroaches on Virginia Beach the city may have found a cheap and plentiful weapon to use against it.

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 Republicans Seek to Unify Around President Trump

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Virginia voters who want to weigh in on the Democratic presidential candidate get their chance next Tuesday.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, Republicans who want to cast a ballot for their preferred GOP nominee are out of luck.

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Northam Hopes to Break Redistricting Deadlock

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Gov. Ralph Northam

Lawmakers are deadlocked on a proposed constitutional amendment to address gerrymandering.

Michael Pope reports.

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Bill Would Dial Up Solar Energy in Virginia

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More than 10,000 homes in Virginia have solar panels, according to the Department of Mines Minerals and Energy.

Proponents of renewable energy say those numbers could be higher and Virginia law is partially to blame.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details on an effort to get more houses, schools and governments connected to the solar grid.

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Legislation Expands Use of Traffic Ticket Cameras

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(Credit: Daud via flickr.com / CC)

Red-light cameras have allowed private businesses to issue tickets to drivers and pocket some of the money.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, lawmakers are considering extending that kind of technology to school zones and work zones.

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Voters Narrow Their Choices as Virginia Primary Approaches

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As Virginia voters ramp up for Tuesday’s primary, Democratic candidates are making the rounds.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, Senator Bernie Sanders was in Richmond Thursday.

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Super Tuesday: 99 Delegates Up For Grabs in VA

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When Virginia votes on Super Tuesday, there will be 99 delegates up for grabs, the fourth largest delegate prize in the bunch.

But even though other Super Tuesday states have more, Virginia could still have a big impact on the outcome.

Robbie Harris reports.

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Senate Advances Gun Bills

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Credit: Stephen Z via Flickr.com / CC

The new Democratic majorities in the House and Senate are moving forward with a long list of gun control bills.

And, as Michael Pope reports, the votes are not as party-line as you might imagine.

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Study Seeks to Document the History of National Park Segregation and its Lasting Effects

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Credit: National Park Service/Katy Cain via flickr.com

Evidence of the legacy of segregation in Virginia’s national park sites is hidden in plain sight.

Now, a study of how parks were segregated is looking at how the park service can highlight that history to campers and hikers.

And as Jahd Khalil reports, it will also try to determine if history has something to do with how different groups are represented in park visitorship.

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Why Some Black Lawmakers Oppose The Redistricting Amendment

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Republicans in the statehouse are accusing Virginia Democrats of walking back promises to pass redistricting reform.

But, as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, understanding why there’s resistance from some Democrats on the measure requires going back a year.

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Va. News: Virginian Pilot is Moving, Independent Grocer is Closing

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The evolving financial landscape has caught up with a pair of iconic Virginia businesses:  A newspaper which must now share leased office space with another paper and grocery store that has served a neighborhood for generations.

Their stories have been among the most read this week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

More now from Fred Echols.

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Budget Plans Improve ELL Teacher Ratios, But is it Enough?

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Credit: dcJohn via flickr.com / CC

Democratic lawmakers agree that it’s necessary to spend more on teachers for English language learners, but they have different takes on how to address the shortage.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Legislators Tackle Food Deserts

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Access to fresh produce is a challenge for communities across the state.

Legislators moved to address the issue by passing bills that advocates say would improve food systems in underserved areas.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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With Broad Democratic Primary Field, General Assembly Support is Scattered Across the Field

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Super Tuesday is a few weeks away.

Michael Pope reports Democrats in the General Assembly are divided about which candidate they’ll be supporting this year.

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General Assembly Debates Definition of “Dead Body”

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Lawmakers are considering a bill that would change the definition of dead body.

Michael Pope reports.

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As Lawmakers Turn to Budget, Rural Schools Demand More

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  Students at St. Charles Elementary in Lee County Virginia go to school in a building constructed in the 1930’s. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Lawmakers have about a month left in Richmond and the biggest item on the legislative to-do list is now finalizing the state budget.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports a bipartisan coalition is pushing to make sure public schools in rural Virginia get their fair share.

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Pope, Church & State: A weekly look at the General Assembly’s 2020 Session

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A weekly conversation about what’s happened at the General Assembly with Michael Pope and Luke Church.

Week Nine:

The General Assembly session is scheduled to wrap up Saturday and lawmakers are about to head home after a 60 day session.

Week Eight:

The end of the General Assembly session is approaching, but there’s still plenty of work to be done.

Week Seven:

Democratic state senators have been derailing a few of their own party’s agenda items.

Week Six:

A flurry of activity before the crossover deadline.

Week Five:

Legislators are closing in on the halfway point of the General Assembly session.

Week Four:

The Equal Rights Amendment, abortion restrictions and guns were among the headlines from the state capitol this week.

Week Three:

Virginia’s General Assembly session often seems like a weeks-long sprint. And some believe this year’s action is moving even faster.

Week Two:

Much of the drama at the General Assembly this week has been about what might go on outside the capitol building.

Week One:

Lawmakers are wrapping up the first few history-making days at the General Assembly.

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Senate, House Advance Plastic Bag Tax, But Questions Remain

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Grocery stores across Virginia may soon have to pay a tax for plastic bags.

Michael Pope reports.

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With Dems Ready to Roll Back Abortion Restrictions, March for Life a “Somber Occasion”

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  Victoria Cobb, president of the Family Foundation, speaks to a crowd of anti abortion rights activists at the March for Life rally at the capitol. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

A couple thousand abortion rights opponents came to Richmond Thursday for the March for Life.

They were there to voice their disapproval at the turn Virginia politics has taken this session.

And as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the mood at the rally was subdued.

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Contest Aims to Find Sea Level Rise Resiliance Projects

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A raised house in the town of Guinea. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Money is key to making the Hampton Roads area resilient as land there sinks and sea-level rises, threatening a key part of the state’s economy.

Cost estimates run into the billions of dollars. Pamela D’Angelo reports small businesses are stepping up with solutions.

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Protecting Virginia Forests from Wildfires

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  Controlled burns help to prevent disasters like what Australia, California and other western states have experienced.
(Credit National Park Service)

More than 15 million acres in Virginia is covered with trees.  That’s about 63% of our land, so forest managers are understandably nervous when they see pictures of wildfires in Australia or California.

Sandy Hausman spoke with several of them at a conference focused on protecting wooded lands in the Commonwealth.

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How an Urban Agriculture Council can Help Grow Community

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  Young urban farmers Saajida Chohan and Paul Meyer with their Virginia State University professor Leonard Githinji. (Credit Sandy Hausman)

Members of the House of Delegates voted this week to create an urban agriculture advisory council. But would the initiative make a difference for city growers?

Cat Modlin-Jackson put the question to two state specialists.

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Bill Could Help Revive Virginia’s Underwater Archaeology Program

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Battlefields and monuments are visible relics of the past, but much of the Commonwealth’s history remains below the surface.

In an effort to preserve Virginia’s maritime heritage, one delegate has proposed a state-sponsored underwater archaeology program.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Marijuana Decriminalization Likely to Take Step Forward Monday

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Del. Charniele Herring speaks on the floor of the House of Delegates Friday. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Members of the House of Delegates are poised to cast a vote Monday on decriminalizing marijuana.

Michael Pope reports.

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Controversial Assault Weapons Bill Moves Forward

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The hearing room was full for Friday’s hearing. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

A key House committee passed an assault weapons ban this morning.

It’s a big step for a controversial piece of legislation… the most sweeping in Governor Ralph Northam’s gun control package.

Mallory Noe-Payne was at the contentious meeting and has more.

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Honoring Civil Rights Lawyers Hill & Robinson

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Gov. Ralph Northam unveils the markers in Richmond. (Credit: Governor’s Office)

Virginia’s Governor honored two powerhouse African-American lawyers… men whose work laid the foundation for the Civil Rights Movement.

Mallory Noe-Payne was at a ceremony in their honor, and has this story.

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Gun Control is Passing, so What About the Assault Weapons Ban?

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Travis Addington drove seven hours from Lee County to be part of the January Lobby Day rally in Richmond. (Credit: Michael Pope)

Universal background checks. A red flag law. One handgun purchase a month.

These gun control measures, and more, are well on their way to becoming law in Virginia.

But there’s one element of the Governor’s gun control package that’s stalled in the statehouse– A ban on assault-style guns.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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“Right to Work” Repeal Still Divides Democrats

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A repeal of Virginia’s “right to work” law has cleared several hurdles in the House of Delegates.

But Michael Pope reports Democrats are still not united on the issue.

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Accessory Dwelling Units can Help with a Shortage of Affordable Housing But Local Hurdles Remain

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Sonny Fleming, Natalie Snider and Ellen Fleming (Credit: Cat Modlin-Jackson)

With housing costs on the rise and incomes lagging behind, Virginians are getting creative in their search for affordable housing.

As property owners and renters look to get the most bang for their buck, some are finding more economical ways of living and working.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Governor, Labor Groups Find Compromise on Paid Sick Leave

general_assembly_2020Governor Ralph Northam and advocates for paid sick days have struck a compromise.

Michael Pope reports might determine how many businesses are affected.

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Va. News: Montgomery County passes Roanoke in Population, Mr. Peanut may be surviving in Suffolk

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It’s been a week of despair tempered by hope in Mr. Peanut’s hometown of Suffolk…and in a part of the state that’s having trouble holding onto its residents one locality is bucking the trend.

These 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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‘I Survived’ — How Doulas Can Help Save Black Womens’ Lives

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For some women in Virginia accessing a doula can mean the different between life and death. From left to right: Fantasy Lozada-Smith, Kenda Sutton-El, and Vallin Bingley.
(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Doulas are not medical professionals. They’re more like birth coaches. In addition to helping women through labor, they also provide support long before, and even after, a baby is born.

For some Virginians, getting help from a doula may mean the difference between life and death.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, that’s why lawmakers are pushing for their services to be covered by Medicaid.

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Both Sides of the Aisle Back Efforts to Give Inmates More Credit for Good Behavior

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Credit Dave Nakayama / Creative Commons

Both Republican and Democratic lawmakers have proposed to increase the amount of time inmates can earn for good behavior.

Thursday night a group of citizens sweated their way through a House subcommittee meeting to speak in favor of the legislation.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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As General Assembly Considers Casino Bills, Pamunkey Tribe Jockeys for Position with Two Locations

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An artist’s rendering of the Richmond-area casino-resort. (Credit Pamunkey Indian Tribe)

The General Assembly has until March to decide on a host of bills to allow and regulate casinos.

The Pamunkey Tribe is wasting no time in positioning itself. This month, they signed an agreement with the city of Norfolk to potentially buy property for a commercial casino-resort along the Elizabeth River.  Then they announced plans for another tribal casino-resort in South Richmond near the James River.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Va. News: Mobile Phones track Bank Robbery suspect, Frederick County’s invite from West Virginia

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A Virginia bank robbery may have a lasting effect on how police can gather and use location information from mobile phones. And the state’s northernmost county is flirting with the idea of joining West Virginia.

These 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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Legislation Could Create Gender X Driver’s License Option

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Driver’s licenses have become a flashpoint for lawmakers in the General Assembly session, which has seen an extended debate about allowing undocumented immigrants to have Virginia driver’s licenses.

But Michael Pope reports there’s another controversy surrounding licenses.

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Legislation Would Bring Equity to School Dress Codes

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Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy (Credit: Virginia General Assembly)

The debate over what students can and cannot wear in school is an ongoing point of contention in Virginia.

This year, Delegate Jennifer Carroll Foy has proposed a bill that she says would level the playing field for girls and students of color.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Glowing Oysters may be a New Weapon Against Poaching Around the Chesapeake Bay

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  Rings of fluorescent dye can be seen each time the oyster larvae has been incrementally dipped in the dye to tag them.  (Credit Jason Spires)

Wild oyster sanctuaries are being built all around the Chesapeake Bay. The goal is to give the bivalves a fighting chance since about 99 percent of the population has disappeared over the last century.

To ensure their survival, scientists are devising a very unusual way to track them as Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Va. News: Medical Marijuana could boost Bristol’s Economy, Louisa County awaiting Broadband benefit

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A Virginia county would like to say how well it’s done in providing broadband but the supervisors don’t know and can’t find out…and medical marijuana production will soon be underway in Southwest 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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Coleman’s Effort to Correct the Narrative Moves to Earlier Time Period

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Christy Coleman (Credit: Kim Brundage/Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation)

Christy Coleman steps down as CEO of the American Civil War Museum this week, but she’s not closing the book on Virginia’s history.

In Richmond, Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

 

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