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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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Population Forecasts Show a Slowing Virginia

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Virginia is growing. But a new report says it may not be growing at the rate that was expected.

Michael Pope reports.

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Cleanup of Coal Train Derailment Could Take Weeks

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Spilled coal in the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge. (Credit: Chris Lowie/Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge)

Last week, 36 Norfolk-Southern train cars derailed, spilling thousands of tons of sand-like coal into a section of the Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

Pamela D’Angelo spoke with the Regional Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service about the cleanup.

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Thousands Take Advantage of New License Reinstatement Policy

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

Thousands of Virginians have already applied to have their drivers licenses reinstated.  And the program’s only days-old.

David Seidel explains.

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Advocates Believe Special Session on Gun Violence can be Successful

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After a mass shooting in Virginia Beach last month, Governor Ralph Northam said he would call state lawmakers back to Richmond to discuss gun violence and common sense ways to prevent it.

He had offered several bills them during the last legislative session, but none was approved.

Now, however, Sandy Hausman reports that Northam might actually succeed.

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NRA Says Its Goal is to “Protect the 2nd Amendment” in Special Session

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Lawmakers are about to return to Richmond for a special session focused on guns, a move prompted by the recent mass shooting in Virginia Beach.

Michael Pope has this preview of some of the options they’ll be considering.

And a note to listeners, this story contains the sound of gunfire.

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Portion of Historic Fones Cliffs Incorporated into Wildlife Refuge

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The view from Fones Cliffs
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Environmentalists have been fighting for more than a decade to preserve Fones Cliffs, a pristine, historic, miles-long section of orange-yellow bluffs towering nearly 100 feet over the Rappahannock River in the eastern part of Virginia.

On Saturday, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife celebrated their new ownership of a section of the cliffs that will now be part of the Rappahannock River Valley Wildlife Refuge.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Va. News: History of UVA Statue being studied, 4-generation Richmond Family business being sold

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One of Virginia’s oldest family-owned companies is being sold… and another statue is causing a stir in Charlottesville. 

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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Tunnel Project Runs Into Trouble: Terns. Lots of Them.

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  A cloud of royal terns over South Island and the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in 2018.
(Credit Chelsea Weithman)

In 1957 a regional transit authority finished an ambitious project – a roadway, bridge and tunnel connecting Hampton to Norfolk.

It’s an important route for locals and for anyone heading to the Eastern Shore or the Outer Banks.

It’s also a bottle neck the region hopes to open with the Commonwealth’s largest construction project ever.

Sandy Hausman has details.

As a regional transportation authority prepares to expand the Hampton Roads Bridge and Tunnel complex, scientists are warning that failing to deal with thousands of sea birds in the area could be disastrous.

Sandy Hausman has that story:

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Researchers at VCU Test Vaccine for Deadly Opioid Fentanyl

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Fentanyl is a deadly part of the opioid crisis.  The synthetic drug can be up to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Now researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond have not only tested a promising vaccine.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, they’ve also developed a method to test other new treatments.

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Wildlife Center of Virginia Testing New Treatment for Bears

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  A black bear
(Credit Al Stanford via flickr.com / CC)

There are an estimated 18-thousand black bears roaming around Virginia, and at this time of year there are lots of mothers and cubs.

Most are healthy, but wildlife watchers report a growing number have mange.

Sandy Hausman reports on what causes that disease, and how research here could revolutionize treatment.

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Va. News: A Tribe’s Cultural Center and What to do With a Troubling Plaque

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A Virginia Indian tribe that’s been without a cultural base for three centuries will soon have one. And a small town on the Eastern Shore is wondering how to deal with a plaque that memorializes both World War One soldiers and segregation. 

 

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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Cuccinelli Appointment Riles Democrats, Even Some Republicans

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Ken Cuccinelli (Credit USCIS Photo)

Former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli is now the acting director of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, and that’s riling even some Republicans in the Senate.

Matt Laslo has the story from the Capitol.

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Artist Kehinde Wiley Takes on Confederate Monuments

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  Kehinde Wiley’s “Napolean Leading the Army over the Alps” at the Virginia Museum of Fine Art in 2016. (Credit Mallory Noe-Payne)

Artist Kehinde Wiley, best known for painting President Obama’s official portrait, has announced his first large-scale public sculpture. And Virginia will ultimately be its home.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the piece is modeled after one of the Richmond’s Confederate monuments.

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After Thirty Years of Trying, Richmond’s Boulevard Renamed for Arthur Ashe

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  Arthur Ashe won three Grand Slam titles, Wimbledon, the US Open and the Australian Open.
(Credit Wikimedia Commons)

This weekend the Boulevard — a historic road through Virginia’s capitol city — will be renamed.

The new name? Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

That’s in honor of the tennis great and humanitarian who was born in Richmond. Ashe died in 1993. And, as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, attempts to honor his legacy have been long in the making.

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Report: Even Simple Protections Against Rising Seas Could Carry Big Cost in Virginia

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  Many roads in the Northern Neck were damaged like this one in Westmoreland County after Hurricane Michael last October.
(Credit Izaak Hagy)

An organization seeking to hold big oil accountable for global warming estimates it will cost more than $31 billion for Virginia to protect coastal communities from sea-level rise.

 

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

 

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Breakthrough in Detecting Lyme Disease Could Lead to Better Treatment

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  A deer tick (left), one of the species of tick that transmits the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. High resolution fluorescently tagged image of the bacteria B. burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease (right).  (Credit Brandon Jutras)

With temperatures in the U.S. on an upward trend, so is Lyme Disease. The ticks that carry it thrive in warm, wet environments and it’s expected that some 300-thousand people will contract it this year.

As Robbie Harris reports, new research out of Virginia Tech is showing promise for better diagnosis and treatment of Lyme Disease.  

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Herring, Northern Virginia Primaries put Marijuana Decriminalization in Spotlight

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Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is calling for decriminalization of marijuana, adding that the enforcement often unfairly targets African Americans.

Michael Pope has the story.

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High court Lets Virginia Voting go Ahead Under Redrawn Map

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Credit Matt Wade via flickr.com / CC

Justices on the United States Supreme Court rejected a Republican effort to throw out newly drawn maps of legislative districts.

Michael Pope reports.

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State Leaders Seek Community Input on Gun Violence

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Credit: Creative Commons / Flickr

State Democratic leaders are touring Virginia, getting feedback from community members on addressing gun violence.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s in preparation for the July 9th special session.

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Va. News: More Economic woes in Wise County, a First for Ferries crossing the Elizabeth River

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A Virginia county that’s gotten all too accustomed to bad economic news has just heard some more of it…and after some four centuries of operation a ferry in Hampton Roads is about to observe a first.

 

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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Don’t Expect Political Fight Over Guns to End With Special Session

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The gun issue is about to take center stage in Virginia politics as advocates on both sides will try to influence the outcome of a special session next month.

But, as Michael Pope reports, the campaign contributions on the issue may surprise you.

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Mumps Outbreak Grows at ICE Detention Facility in Virginia

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(Credit: ICE)

An outbreak of mumps at an immigration detention center in Virginia is growing.

Authorities say there are now 24 confirmed or suspected cases at the Farmville facility.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, immigrant advocates say it’s part of a larger problem.

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Virginia Primary has Lots of Surprise, No Clear Message

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Turnout in primary elections is historically low and it will be a couple days before we get a complete picture of turnout in Tuesday’s elections.

But Democrats and Republicans are already battling it out over who has more energy as they head towards November.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports on Democratic Party efforts to keep the “Blue Wave” going:

Michael Pope reports on some of Tuesday’s primary upsets:

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Subpoena Fight Splits Virginia Democrats in Congress

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Credit: John Brighenti via flickr.com / CC

A growing number of House Democrats have now joined the chorus calling to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump.

But most Virginia Democrats aren’t singing the same tune, as Matt Laslo reports from the Capitol.

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Va. News: An Uprising nearly ended Slavery, Chesterfield County deals with old Billboards

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Many people know there was a slave uprising in Virginia in the early 19th Century.

But fewer are aware of how close it came to ending slavery in the state…and when localities try to regulate billboards they sometimes find it’s not quite so easy as they expected.

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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More than Ten-thousand mark D-Day Anniversary in Bedford

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Vice President Mike Pence delivered the keynote address. (Credit: David Seidel

D-Day and World War Two veterans marked the 75th anniversary of the Normandy Invasion.

David Seidel reports there were thousands of visitors to the National D-Day Memorial Thursday as well.

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Virginia Democrats Search for ‘Electability’ this Primary Season

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  Debra Rodman (left) is running against Veena Lothe (right) for the Democratic nomination in Virginia’s 12th Senate District.

A lot is at stake for Virginia this November. All 140 state lawmakers are up for election. And Democrats are hoping they can take control of the state legislature for the first time in decades.

But first, they have to choose the right candidates for the job.

Ahead of next week’s primaries, Mallory Noe-Payne has this look at what electability looks like for Democrats.

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Virginia Coastal Adaptation and Climate “Czar” Gets to Work

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  Ann Phillips, Rear Admiral, US Navy (Ret.) speaking last year when she was appointed by Gov. Northam. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Last year, Gov. Ralph Northam appointed Retired Navy Admiral Ann Phillips to spearhead efforts for coastal adaptation to climate change.

After nearly 31 years in the Navy where she implemented climate change adaptation plans, she is traveling the state putting together a coastal master plan.

She hopes it will inform a tight-fisted and, in some cases reluctant, General Assembly to fund statewide climate change adaptation and protection when it reconvenes this winter.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Deadline Approaching for Program to Combat Childhood Hunger

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Credit: dcJohn via flickr.com / CC

Hunger is a problem in Virginia schools, and educators say students can’t learn if they are hungry.

But are schools doing everything they can to prevent that from happening? Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Job Corps Centers closing in SW Virginia, Incentives for incoming Va. Tech Freshmen to wait

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Virginia Tech’s incoming class has turned out to be a little more than the school bargained for…and a decision to end a federal jobs program in the Virginia coalfields is drawing strong opposition.

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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As Supreme Court Considers Virginia Redistricting Case, Primaries Get Closer

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Credit Matt Wade via flickr.com / CC

Voters are about to head to the polls across Virginia, even though the United States Supreme Court is still considering a challenge to a dozen districts.

Michael Pope reports.

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A Scholarship: One Man’s Effort to Fix the Wrongs of Prince Edward County

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Prince Edward County in Central Virginia is known for locking a generation of black students out of education by closing down its public schools. That was during the desegregation battles of the 1960’s.

Now, one man is trying to help right that wrong by starting a scholarship and mentorship program, with a thousand dollars of his own money.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

Any recent graduate of Prince Edward County High School can apply with a video submission.

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C’ville Company Uses Genetics and Big Data to Find Better Medical Treatments

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  Amrie Grammer is co-founder of AMPEL, a company that combines genetics and big data to discover new medical treatments. (Credit Amrie Grammer)

Getting approval for new drugs takes years and costs companies millions of dollars.  What’s more, clinical trials sometimes fail, leaving firms with nothing to show.

Now, however, a Virginia company is taking a different approach – looking at drugs that already have FDA approval to see what other conditions they might treat.

Sandy Hausman explains.

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New Law Makes Accessing Treatment for Autism Easier

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Governor Ralph Northam signs the legislation. (Credit: Mallory Noe-Payne)

Across the country, one in every 59 children born today will be diagnosed with autism.

Now in Virginia they can no longer be denied coverage by insurance companies.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Drops in Students Pursuing Teaching Profession Worry Former Education Secretary

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Credit: dcJohn via flickr.com / CC

Is Virginia headed to a teacher shortage?  Some education leaders in the teaching profession fear so.

Michael Pope reports.

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Parole, Pardons and the Fight for Reform

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Credit: David Nakayama / Creative Commons

Since Virginia abolished parole in 1995 there’s been just one way for most inmates to win an early release from state prisons – asking for a pardon from the governor.

Sandy Hausman examines the backlog and a new public outreach effort by Virginia officials.

Part 1:

Since Virginia abolished parole in 1995 there’s been just one way for most inmates to win an early release from state prisons – asking for a pardon from the governor.

As a result, Ralph Northam’s team may be overwhelmed by a backlog of cases, and some pleas have languished for years.

Part 2:

Officials have designated this May as “Second Chance Month” for about 37,000 state prisoners.

Those who committed their crimes before 1995 are eligible for parole, and Virginia has been freeing about 12% of them each year, but one high profile prisoner says he hasn’t even gotten a first chance.

Part 3:

Virginia’s Department of Corrections spends over a billion dollars a year to operate 41 prisons where it holds about 30-thousand inmates.  Another seven-thousand are kept in regional jails.

13,000 of them are freed annually after serving their sentence, but nearly one in four will be back after committing new crimes.

Part 4:

This year, Congress approved a series of reforms to the criminal justice system – changes that should reduce the number of people in federal prisons.

In Virginia’s General Assembly, several proposed reforms failed, but Democrats say that could change if they get control of the legislature in November.

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Lawmakers Urged to Plan Now, In Case Trade War Hurts Virginia

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Virginia state revenues are looking strong.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, a trade war and heavy debt at the federal level could threaten that.

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Virginia Republicans Back Offshore Oil and Gas Exploration, With Some Reservations

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

The Trump administration has sent conflicting messages on its plan for oil and gas drilling off Virginia’s coast.

But it now seems to be moving ahead with plans to explore the reserves sitting at the bottom of the Atlantic.

As correspondent Matt Laslo reports, that’s music to the ears of the state’s four Republicans in Congress.

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Governor Signs Tobacco Free Schools Legislation

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Many of Virginia’s school buildings are tobacco free – but some aren’t.

New legislation signed by the Governor Tuesday will change that. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Va. News: Climate Change’s impact on Hampton Roads, Signs banning cursing down in Virginia Beach

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Realization of the potential cost of climate change is hitting home in Hampton Roads. And one of Virginia’s prime vacation spots may soon stop reminding you that it’s illegal to swear in public. 

 

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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Fundraising Moratorium Sets Off Scramble Around General Assembly Session

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Lawmakers are forbidden from raising money during the General Assembly session, but their opponents are not.

Michael Pope reports that might not make for an early advantage.

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Building a Better Seatbelt

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  Research engineers Brian Overby and Patrick Foltz run crash tests to help design a better seatbelt. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

More than 50 years ago the federal government ordered car makers to install seat belts.

Originally designed for an average American man – 5 feet, 9 inches tall and 170 pounds – they have saved millions of lives, but one third of adults in this country are now obese, and seatbelts aren’t working so well for them.

That’s why engineers at the University of Virginia are studying the science of seatbelts, hoping to create safer restraints.

Sandy Hausman has details.

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Scandals Shake Up Political Fundraising and Spending

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Republicans are outpacing Democrats in the race for campaign cash this year.

Michael Pope has more on the money.

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New Coalition Advocates for a Shakeup of Virginia’s Energy Utilities

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An unlikely coalition of conservative and progressive groups announced an effort to take on Dominion, along with Virginia’s entire energy market.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va. News: A Confederate Flag legal fight, Telecomm tower in Rappahannock County

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Telecommunications towers keep people connected but often annoy those who live within sight of them. One Virginia community tries to deal with the issue. And a huge flagpole east of Charlottesville has run afoul of a county ordinance but can it be removed?

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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After Medicaid Expansion, Republicans Face Attacks from Their Own

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Party control of Virginia’s state house is up for grabs this November — and Republicans are hoping they can keep the majority.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, first some of them have to survive attacks from within their own party.

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