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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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Va. News: Safety Service Patrol taking risks, Virginia Beach’s at-risk properties

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Virginia Beach is ready to commit more money t to mitigate the effects of a rising sea level…And the Interstate-81 Safety Patrol is getting some additional resources to help keep traffic moving.

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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Governor Northam Delivers State of the Commonwealth to Democratic Legislature

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Governor Ralph Northam delivers his 2020 State of the Commonwealth address.                    (Credit: Michael Pope)

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam gave the annual State of the Commonwealth address Wednesday night.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, he spoke of both fiscal responsibility and progressive goals.

Reaction to the governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address fell along party lines.
Michael Pope has that part of the story.

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New General Assembly Session Brings New, Diverse Leadership

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Virginia’s General Assembly is gaveling back in Wednesday.

And as Mallory Noe-Payne reports it’s with a diverse slate of new leadership.

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‘I Lost Hope’ A Look Inside the ICE Detention Center in Farmville

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  An empty dorm at the ICE Farmville Detention Center.
(Credit: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

In Farmville, about an hour south of Charlottesville, there’s an immigration detention facility. It holds men who officials allege are in the country illegally.

Earlier this summer Virginia Public Radio requested a tour of the privately-owned facility.

It took months to arrange, but reporter Mallory Noe-Payne was finally granted access and has this report.

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Task Force Plans to Mark Centennial of 19th Amendment

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A suffrage parade in New York City in 1912. (Credit: Library of Congress)

2020 marks 100 years since the federal government legalized women’s right to vote.

As plans to observe the anniversary get underway, other historic moments for women are on the horizon in Virginia.

Cat Modlin-Jackson has the story.

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Va. News: Working to preserve UVA’s Library Card system, Roanoke Courthouse cell phone solution

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Books in libraries these days are almost always cataloged on computers.  But the traditional card system still has admirers who are working to preserve it.  And there’s at least a partial solution to the problem of what to do with the forbidden mobile phone at the courthouse door.

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: Weather’s impact on the White Oak, Record Pedestrian Bridge helps Southwest Virginia

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Tourism in Southwest Virginia is about to get a boost… and state officials are monitoring a spike in reported losses of White Oak trees.

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 Attorney General: 2nd Amendment Sanctuary resolutions “have no legal effect”

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Attorney General Mark Herring

Attorney General Mark Herring says Virginia localities have no legal standing to exempt themselves from gun control legislation.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, he issued an advisory opinion on the question Friday.

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Line in the Sand or Symbolic Statement: 2nd Amendment Sanctuary Movement Grows in Virginia

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Amelia county resident Troy Carter speaks to the county Board of Supervisors shortly before they vote to become a Second Amendment Sanctuary. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

In the past week, at least five more Virginia localities have voted to become Second Amendment Sanctuaries, a symbolic gesture of support for gun rights.

Mallory Noe-Payne was in Amelia County Wednesday night for one of the most recent votes.

She has this look at the growing trend.

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State Report Sheds Light on Internal Issues at Virginia Dept. of Game & Inland Fisheries

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In December, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission, or JLARC, confirmed a host of problems with the operations and management of the state Department of Game and Inland Fisheries.

The department regulates hunting and fishing through licensing and its conservation police force.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Jens Soering Begins New Life in Germany

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Soering at the ICE detention center in Farmville. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Jens Soering is back in Germany, paroled after more than 33 years behind bars, 29 of them in Virginia.

He was convicted in the brutal murder of his girlfriend’s parents – a crime he insists he did not commit.

Before leaving, Soering gave an exclusive interview to Virginia Public Radio’s Sandy Hausman who has covered his case for nearly a decade.  She set up a microphone at the ICE detention center in Farmville.

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Va. News: School District may change unpaid board policy, Honor System failing on Richmond bus line

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The honor system doesn’t seem to be working very well for a new public transit line.  And one of the last localities in Virginia with an unpaid school board has decided to compensate members.

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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Nominating Contests Shape Up in Virginia

virginiaEvery year is an election year in Virginia, but next year’s presidential election is going to be one for the record books.

Michael Pope has this preview of the nominating contest here in Virginia.

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Shortage of Clerks at Crisis Level in Virginia’s District Courts

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If staffing levels aren’t brought up some district courts across the state may have to shorten the hours that customer service desks are open. That would make it more difficult for people to file cases or pay fines.  (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Roughly three million cases a year run through Virginia’s General District Courts. Everything from traffic tickets to homicides.

But according to state staffing models, more than half of those courts are under-staffed. That includes large counties like Fairfax, Chesapeake and Henrico – but also smaller courts in Smyth, Carroll and Rockingham Counties.

Mallory Noe-Payne visited one of those understaffed courts to learn about the impact.

Earlier this fall the Executive Secretary of the Supreme Court of Virginia stood before lawmakers pleading. He was asking for more money so courts across the state could hire more clerks.

According to his office, more than half of the state’s district courts are under-staffed. And that could impact everything from people’s credit to jail-time.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at why Virginia’s courts are short staffed and what lawmakers can do about it.

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Va. News: Struggling former Coalfields in Southwest Virginia, Martinsville may change to Town status

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Despite years of effort many places in the Virginia coalfields are still struggling to rebuild their economies. And the city of Martinsville is considering becoming a town which is causing some apprehension in surrounding Henry County.

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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“Rumors of War” Unveiling Tuesday in Richmond

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One of Kehinde Wiley’s paintings on display at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. (Credit: Mallory Noe–Payne)

Rumors of War, a statue mirroring and challenging Confederate monuments, will be installed Tuesday at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Mallory Noe-Payne has this preview.

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Study: Many Wage Complaints Go Uninvestigated

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When a worker believes they’ve been cheated out of their pay, they can file a complaint with the state.

But Michael Pope reports a new study finds many of those complaints are never investigated.

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New Regulations on Restraint and Seclusion in Public Schools Headed to Governor

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Virginia is one step closer to adopting the state’s first-ever set of regulations governing the use of seclusion and restraint on public school students.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the proposed rules recently received the necessary approval from multiple state agencies.

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757? Coastal Virginia? — Hampton Roads Considers What’s in a Name

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Localities included in the Hampton Roads Planning District (Credit: hrpdcva.gov)

A community’s brand identity, like Virginia’s Blue Ridge or RVA, can often be a key marketing tool to attract visitors, businesses and new residents.

That’s why a rebranding effort is being considered in Hampton Roads.

Michael Pope has this preview of a report out next week.

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Retail Jobs Drop in Virginia

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(Credit: Bureau of Labor Statistics)

Now that the holiday shopping season is underway, new data shows Virginia’s retail trade employment is taking a hit this year.

Michael Pope reports.

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Dominion Energy Outlines Plans to Remove and Recycle Coal Ash

Dominion-EnergyLogo-172x72Dominion Energy is coming up with plans to remove and recycle coal ash from four sites around the state.

Lawmakers got their first update on the new legislative mandate Monday.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va. News: W&L Students want to alter its Diploma, a Virginia political campaign that cost nothing

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Some graduating students at Washington and Lee University would like an alternate version of the school’s traditional diploma… and in the era of long and expensive political campaigns, one in Virginia lasted an hour and cost nothing.

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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State Study of Potential Casinos Raises Concerns for Pamunkey Tribe and City of Norfolk

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Credit: Images Money / taxrebate.org.uk / Flickr

Earlier this year, the city of Norfolk voted to sell waterfront property to the Pamunkey Tribe in the tribe’s latest effort to build a casino.

But a new state report on gaming in Virginia has raised concerns for one city official and the tribe.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Congress Considers Next Steps in Fight Against Opioids

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

Last year a bipartisan group in Congress passed a sweeping law to address the opioid crisis.

But the opioid epidemic continues to rage in states like Virginia and there’s a new Congress, yet the crisis isn’t talked about much at the Capitol these days.

Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington that some lawmakers in the commonwealth want that to change.

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Thanksgiving’s 400th Anniversary… In Virginia

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This week Americans sit down to a big family meal, traditionally connected with the history of the Pilgrims in Massachusetts.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, Virginia has a correction to the Thanksgiving historical record.

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Some Local Governments in Rural Virginia Declare 2nd Amendment Sanctuary

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Credit Peretz Partensky via flickr.com / CC

A handful of local governments across Virginia are declaring themselves a Second Amendment sanctuary.

Michael Pope reports the resolutions vow opposition to what some see as an unconstitutional infringement of Second Amendment rights.

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Va. News: Williamsburg teaching Origins of Sexual Orientation in Va., Fluvanna County brands logo

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Colonial Williamsburg has launched an effort learn more about the history of sexual orientation in early America. And Fluvanna County has trademarked its logo after a debate over a rainbow version.

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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As Congress Heads Home, Beyer Holds Impeachment Town Hall

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Rep. Don Beyer

Now that the marathon impeachment hearings have been put on hold as members of Congress leave town for a week, members of the Virginia delegation are hearing from their constituents about impeachment.

Michael Pope has this report from a town hall in Alexandria.

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New Website Aims to Document Effects of Eastern Shore Poultry Houses

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A truckload of birds is delivered to Tyson’s Temperanceville plant. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

As older chicken houses on the Eastern Shore are being replaced with much larger operations, neighbors and environmental groups have a lot of questions about air and water pollution.

 

Now, a new data tool will give the public a little more information about how the industrial byproduct – poultry manure – is being used.

 

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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A Night at the Museum: Hopper Exhibit at the VMFA

VMFA Hopper

(Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

The newest exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts in Richmond takes experiential art to a new level.

The museum has recreated a famous painting of a hotel room, where guests can actually spend a night.

Mallory Noe-Payne checked it out and has this report.

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The Public Expects More from Female CEOs

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  Professor Nicole Montgomery explains findings of two studies showing the public expects more of female CEOS.
(Credit UVA)

As we approach the 2020 presidential election, some scholars are still speculating over why Hillary Clinton lost her 2016 bid.

At the University of Virginia, two professors at the undergraduate business school have a theory, based on a study of how consumers think about female CEO’s.

Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Va. News: Greene County prosecution seen as Political, Ag tradition upsets some in Floyd County

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A criminal prosecution viewed by many as purely political was called off after Election Day in Greene County.  And the latest culture clash over agricultural tradition in Virginia is happening in Floyd County.

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 Fights Back Against Trump Administration Climate Change Rollbacks

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  Recent so-called sunny day flooding is happening more frequently around the Chesapeake Bay.
(Credit Pamela D’Angelo)

Rollbacks in environmental protection and flood risk management by the Trump administration is forcing states to come up with their own solutions.

On Friday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam mandated one of the country’s strictest standards for state-owned properties in an effort to steer development away from flood-prone areas.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Youth Advocacy Group Points to Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice

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Credit: David Nakayama / Creative Commons

Is justice equal for youth offenders who find themselves caught up in the court system?

Michael Pope has more about a new report that calls attention to some disparities in the system.

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To Combat Trade War, Northam Announces State-Led Plan

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In Norfolk, Virginia officials announced a long-term plan to increase the state’s international exports.

Governor Northam called it the first ever statewide strategic plan for international trade.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Youth Advocacy Group Points to Racial Disparities in Juvenile Justice

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Is justice equal for youth offenders who find themselves caught up in the court system?

Michael Pope has more about a new report that calls attention to some disparities in the system.

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Va. News: Food Deserts in poor neighborhoods, an order for Free Dirt prompts a Lawsuit

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Owners of a grocery store are finding that providing opportunity in an underserved neighborhood isn’t as simple as just showing up… and a homeowner who says she ordered a little dirt ended up with more than she knew what to do with.

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 Democrats’ Speaker Pick Would be First Woman in Job

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Del. Eileen Filler-Corn (center) and Del Charniele Herring (right) listen to Governor Ralph Northam on Election Night. (Credit Michael Pope)

Virginia is about to get its first female speaker of the House of Delegates.

Michael Pope reports.

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Saxis Looks for Solutions to Rising Seas

Oyster experiment with homeowner efforts in the background

Structures made of concrete and oyster shells, like the one in the foreground, are placed in the harbor to create an artificial reef. A homeowner has created their own breakwater in the background, using bricks and concrete debris.
(Credit Pamela D’Angelo)

The tiny Town of Saxis on Virginia’s Eastern Shore is learning to live with water.

Like other communities around the Chesapeake Bay, residents are looking at solutions to the erosion and frequent flooding that comes with climate change.

In part two of her report, Pamela D’Angelo finds out how the town is trying to become resilient.

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Waynesboro’s Bringing Back Wetlands

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Residents can walk along mowed paths and learn about this rich wildlife habitat. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

Wetlands go by many names — marshes, bogs, swamps and bayous. But whatever they’re called, the fact is they’re disappearing here in Virginia.

More than half have been drained and developed since the first settlers arrived.  Now, however, some communities are reversing that trend.

Sandy Hausman visited one and filed this report.

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Almost an Island, the Eastern Shore Town of Saxis is Fighting Rising Seas

Yvonne Hickman points out erosion

Yvonne Hickman points out erosion along the shoreline.
(Credit Pamela D’Angelo)

You’ve probably heard of Tangier—the island of 450 residents in danger of being swallowed by the Chesapeake Bay.

But just a few miles away, the tiny Town of Saxis, whose population is about half of Tangier’s, is quietly facing many of the same problems.

Pamela D’Angelo went there to find out how climate change is affecting the community.

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Virginia Democrats Win Control of State Senate and House of Delegates

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  Governor Ralph Northam leads enthusiastic Democrats in a “blue wave” chant, promising action on “common sense gun control.”
(Credit Michael Pope)

Democrats are promising swift action on a host of policy proposals now that they’ve taken control of the General Assembly for the first time in more than two decades.

Michael Pope and Mallory Noe-Payne have reaction from motivated Democrats and also Republicans who say they’ll be watching closely.

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Local Races Tuesday? It Depends

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Voters in counties will see sheriffs and prosecutors on the ballot this year. But voters in cities will not.

Michael Pope explains why.

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A Tip for Election Day: Look Up Your Ballot

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Credit: justgrimes via flickr.com / Creative Commons

Virginians head to the polls Tuesday but many may not recognize the names on their ballot.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, hundreds of thousands of voters are in a new district this year.

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Va. News: Daily Progress Newsroom staff vote to Unionize, Washington County Courthouse ballot issue

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Washington County supervisors are finding that a possible relocation of the county court is more complicated than they may have imagined.  And news staff at one newspaper is hoping unionizing will give them greater job security.

 

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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