Archive for category Spotlight on WVTF Public Radio 2011
The Sanskrit word “Yoga” translates roughly into the English word, “yoke”– – something that pulls things together. A new yoga festival, set for Labor Day weekend in Floyd, aims to bring people together for a celebration of the “yoga lifestyle” with demonstrations, classes, music, food and more. Robbie Harris visited the festival site as final preparations are being made, and has this preview.
With the dangers of nuclear power playing out in Japan, fighting in Libya pushing oil prices up, and climate scientists pointing an accusing finger at coal, America is desperate for some energy alternatives. One that seemed promising is natural gas – a relatively clean burning fuel. But critics now say the process of getting gas from the ground may be risky. Sandy Hausman went to Southwest Virginia to find out why.
It was once the most popular form of entertainment in America—Virginia included. Now, it’s a painful reminder of a racist history—but a history that some say needs to be recognized and understood. WVTF’s Connie Stevens present this documentary on the era of Blackface Minstrelsy—and it’s lasting impact on society.
Doctors at the Focused Ultrasound Center in Charlottesville have completed a clinical trial using a new form of surgery – one that requires no scalpels and causes no bleeding or scars. Instead, they used sound waves to destroy problem-areas in the brains of people who suffered from tremors in their hands. Now, they’re looking at other ways to use this hi-tech treatment as Sandy Hausman reports.
Few people give sewage treatment a second thought, but for more and more Virginians, it’s becoming a serious issue. That’s because farmers can get sludge from sewage treatment plants for free. The state isn’t 100% sure about the safety of so-called biosolids, and the Department of Environmental Quality is working on new guidelines for how and where they’re used, but folks who live near farms want answers now. Sandy Hausman has that story.
At this time of year, many people make a point of looking at trees, but we often take them for granted and don’t know much about their day-to-day lives. Now, the photographer and author of a book called Remarkable Trees of Virginia have released their new work. It’s called Seeing Trees, and Sandy Hausman reports that it’s filled with surprises.
Fraser firs are known as the Cadillac of Christmas trees – with their iconic shape, dark green color and tendency to retain their needles. They’re native to Virginia but increasingly rare, so the state has created a unique partnership to protect Fraser firs, as Sandy Hausman reports.
The next time you find yourself complaining about work, or hot weather or mosquitoes in the back yard, consider the plight of Charlottesville grad student Charles Clarkson. Sandy Hausman joined him for an afternoon of research on the Eastern Shore where he battles appalling heat and swarms of mosquitoes to study what some might consider a truly disgusting subject.
The problem of acid rain is not new. It was first described in 1852 by a Scottish chemist who coined the term to link polluted air from industrial cities in England to damaging rains in the countryside. The subject gained widespread attention more than a century later when coal-burning power plants and auto emissions led to dying forests and poisoned lakes in the northeastern United States. Now, two Virginia scientists warn that other human activities are making our environment more acidic, and the problem is likely to get worse. Sandy Hausman has that story.
The planet’s oceans are awash in trouble, with pollution and dead zones. Now, one Virginia scientist is warning that coral reefs could disappear if something isn’t done soon to protect them. Sandy Hausman reports on a new model for coral protection — a program that’s rebuilding reefs and employing fishermen to guard them.
The Virginia Tech police officer shot to death last week has been laid to rest. Beverly Amsler reports.
The lights are on and the cameras rolling in Richmond, where Steven Spielberg is shooting a film about Lincoln. Virginia taxpayers are co-producers on the movie, having given Hollywood $3.5 million in cash and $1.1 million more in tax breaks. The Governor says it’s a good investment in the state’s film industry, but critics think Hollywood is shaking Virginia down, and taxpayers are too star struck to notice. Sandy Hausman has more on that story.
A Grayson County Judge will hear testimony Wednesday in a case over what a landowner can build on their property. Beverly Amsler explains.
Thousands of Virginians own dogs and many owners are looking for ways to get some exercise and forge a tighter bond with their pup. Beverly Amsler reports on one way to do both.
Louisa County was the epicenter of today’s earthquake. There were no fatalities, but Sandy Hausman reports there were injuries and considerable property damage. As aftershocks continue, officials are trying to figure out who will pay for repairs.
Governor McDonnell signed into law several measures recently to provide new protections from human trafficking and more severe punishment for those who engage in it. But before the introduction of the legislation, many Virginians had no idea how prevalent the crime is– especially in the Commonwealth. As Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil reports, the challenge now is recognizing human trafficking and taking action when it occurs.
Recently, the environmental group Greenpeace stepped up its campaign against rainforest destruction – claiming it had analyzed packaging used by toymaker Mattel and concluded the cardboard was made from tropical rainforest trees. The material was supplied by Asia Pulp and Paper, which last year located one of its subsidiaries in Virginia. Governor Bob McDonnell had approved a $250,000 grant to help with the move. On a fact-finding trip with the International Reporting Project, WVTF’s Sandy Hausman learned more about the situation and filed this report.
With the world’s population growing, the pressure is on to produce more food on less land. The challenge is especially great in the tropics, where insects and fungi compete with farmers for edible crops. That’s why scientists from Virginia Tech are traveling the world – promoting powerful organic ways to protect plants. Sandy Hausman reports from one program location — Indonesia.
Prosecutors in most big cities have heard about con artists who prey on people locked out of their homes or cars. Some have taken the worst offenders to court, but here in Virginia phony locksmiths appear to be scamming consumers and driving legitimate locksmiths out of business, while state regulators struggle to keep up. Virginia Public Radio’s Sandy Hausman has details.
For centuries, real life tragedies have been memorialized in song—as ballads tell a story, passing down history through oral tradition. And in Virginia, these musical tributes were often produced as what’s called “broadside ballads”—complete with opinion and emotion, as the writer and performers weighed in on grim events. Connie Stevens has this report on “Deathly Lyrics—Songs of Virginia Tragedies.”
Late last year, Governor Bob McDonnell announced the formation of a new committee to help state and local law enforcement get a grip on street gangs. McDonnell warned that gangs now threaten the safety of Virginians everywhere, but no one knows how many gang members are at large in the Commonwealth or how dangerous they really are, and Sandy Hausman reports that tough anti-gang laws may be doing more harm than good.