Archive for category Spotlight on WVTF Public Radio 2012

Some State Democrats Want May Elections to Take Place in June Instead of November


Credit: NPR

Lawmakers are about to return to Richmond for a General Assembly with social distancing. One issue that could become a flashpoint is what happens to local elections. Michael Pope reports.

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Hawking Haiku (originally broadcast 5/10/2012)


Photo: Washington & Lee University

Finding the right gift for Mother’s Day is often a challenge, but students at Washington & Lee University offered a customized option today – haiku crafted for moms or anyone else on a patron’s list.  Sandy Hausman reports.

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Naming The Fralin (originally broadcast 8/31/2012)


Photo: University of Virginia

When Teresa Sullivan resigned as president of the University of Virginia, many people questioned the ability of the Board of Visitors – mostly wealthy business people — to govern a university.  What they didn’t know was that a few months earlier the board made a decision that could have cost UVA $20 million.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Crisis on Campus (reportage from June – December, 2012)


Photo: University of Virginia

Students and faculty at the University of Virginia and its medical center were in shock after a surprise announcement from the board of visitors.   Rector Helen Dragas said President Teresa Sullivan would leave after less than two years on the job.  Sandy Hausman has details.

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Hazardous Hospitals (series originally broadcast 3/12/2012 – 3/15/2012)

hospital-acquired-infectionsPeople who go into the hospital for treatment usually expect to come home feeling better, but experts say hundreds of thousands are getting infected with potentially deadly bacteria.  This problem is raising big questions about how hospitals do business, and who pays when things don’t go as planned.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

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The Marshall Expedition (originally aired April 12, 2012)

This year marks the 200th  anniversary of the Marshall Expedition, an important event in the history of Virginia commerce.

Andrew Shaw and his six-man crew from Lynchburg are setting out to re-trace the expedition in a flat bottomed boat, called a batteau.  They worked together to build the 43-foot wooden boat that will carry them up nearly 360 miles of waterway. They’ll travel up the James River from Richmond, through the Allegheny Mountains, and downriver to the Great Falls of the Kanawha in West Virginia.

They’re backed by a National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant, which Shaw says allows them to retrace Chief Justice John Marshall’s 1812 expedition– a little-known river survey that proved essential to Virginia’s economic growth.

Roger Nelson, President of the Virginia Canals and Navigations Society, says the survey was done in support of George Washington’s plan for westward expansion. “That was his vision, to build this canal system that linked the Eastern Seaboard with the Mississippi River Valley. He could envision the riches that lay out there,” says Nelson.

John Marshall and his crew of about a dozen commissioners journeyed up the James River and through the mountains to see if this canal system could actually be completed.  They made their month-long voyage with a boat designed just for the task– a batteau.  Poling the boat up and down the river, the crew essentially transformed the Piedmont from a rough frontier to a thriving agricultural region.

Today’s crew will primarily use the tools of Marshall’s time, spending much of their journey upstream, through rocks, swift water and rapids. To follow the progress of the Mary Marshall and her crew, you can check out their blog at

–by Kelley Libby

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Virginia Behind Bars


On Monday night, Virginia’s Legal Aid Justice Center will host a benefit at the Paramount Theater in Charlottesville – a program called Incarceration Nation.  With the help of U.S. Senator Jim Webb and novelist John Grisham, the group will explore why this country leads the world in both the number of citizens in prison and the percentage of people locked up.  Our jailhouse population is 5-10 times higher, per capita, than in Canada, Britain, or France.  We asked Sandy Hausman to look at that question — and at what’s happening behind bars in Virginia:

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