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Government Considers Loosening Regulations On Hog Processors


Credit: USDA/Flickr

The U.S Department of Agriculture along with the hog industry have proposed more deregulation at hog plants.

If implemented, meat packers would get more authority to police food safety themselves while allowing them to slaughter hogs faster.

Jessie Knadler has more.

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Beyer Looks For Allies To Save Chesapeake Bay Funding


As President Trump continues to call for spending cuts, Congressional Democrats like Rep. Don Beyer  are trying to keep environmental protection money flowing towards the Chesapeake.

Matt Laslo has more from the Capitol.

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Step, Storytelling And Sisterhood

Step 1

PST performs at Charles City County High School. (Credit: Brad Kutner)

The art of step is as much a form of storytelling as it is a physical activity. Using a mix of stomps, claps, hand motions and shouts, stepping offers an outlet for people to have their feelings heard and send a message.

Brad Kutner spent some time with Precision Step Team, an award winning collection of Richmond-area middle and high school girls, to learn more about what’s involved and give them a chance to talk about Step in their own words.

They were getting ready to perform a show honoring Harriet Tubman.

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New Hope For Buena Vista Is Part Class Project, Part Redevelopment Effort


The Shenandoah Valley city of Buena Vista has long been economically depressed.

But now that a Roanoke developer snapped up 11 buildings downtown, some wonder if the old manufacturing town just outside of Lexington is ripe for a revival.

Reporter Jessie Knadler heads to BV to find out.

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Virginia Republicans Wary of Tariffs And Potential For Trade War


Credit Rog Cogswell, Creative Commons

Virginia lawmakers are worried that President Trump’s proposal to hike tariffs on steel and aluminum may spark a trade war.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has the details form Washington.

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Rear-facing Car Seat Legislation Headed to Governor

General Assembly 2018-01

Parents are about to be forced to strap their children into rear-facing child seats.

Michael Pope explains why from the Capitol.

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State Senate Debates Use Of Cellphones While Driving

General Assembly 2018-01

Texting while driving is already illegal in Virginia. But a bill now being debated in the state Senate would require hands-free use of cell phones.

Michael Pope explains.

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Virginia Budget Negotiations Forge Ahead, in Secret

Jeion Antonia Ward

  The budget bills on the desk of a state delegate. A budget conference committee has a tight deadline to find a compromise between the $400 million difference in their budget proposals.
Credit Steve Helber / AP

Virginia’s Senate and House have written their versions of the two-year state budget. But there’s a problem.

The two budgets are about 400-million dollars apart.

A handful of lawmakers are tasked with hammering out the difference.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne reports, all the wrangling happens behind closed doors.

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As Part of Deal, Restitution Reform Quietly Sails through General Assembly


  As part of their sentence, criminals are often asked to pay restitution to their victims. But in Virginia the money often goes uncollected and unpaid.
Credit Shawn/Flickr

One of the highlight compromises this legislative session is a deal to raise the felony larceny threshold.

The flipside of that deal is a crackdown on restitution. That’s the out of pocket costs criminals are often ordered to pay to their victims.

And Mallory Noe-Payne reports it often goes uncollected and unpaid in Virginia.

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Proposal Would Streamline Zoning Variance Process For People With Disabilities

General Assembly 2018-01Lawmakers in Richmond are debating a bill that would make it easier for people with disabilities to make changes to their homes.

Michael Pope reports from the Capitol.

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Dogs Rescued From South Korea Find New Homes In Virginia


Eleven-month old Stephanie is one of four mastiffs brought to Charlottesville from a now-shuttered dog meat farm in South Korea. (Credit: Emily Richardson-Lorente)

If you’re a dog person, it may bother you to know that many dogs are bred to be eaten in South Korea. But increasingly, it bothers Koreans as well.

That’s why, in the last three years, the Humane Society International has been able to negotiate the closure of nearly a dozen meat farms.

Where do the dogs go after that? Well, it turns out many head to shelters here in the U.S. 

Emily Richardson-Lorente tracked down a few in Charlottesville.

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Changes, Budget Cuts At EPA Worry Some Va. Lawmakers, Please Others

EPA Logo

In President Trump’s newly released budget the administration calls for drastic cuts to environmental programs, including the Chesapeake Bay Restoration Fund.

Matt Laslo reports from Washington that lawmakers from the region are divided on the role the Environmental Protection Agency should play today.

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Who Takes The Lead After The Freeze?

4257813689_b09e353206_zLawmakers in Richmond are deep in a discussion about lifting a freeze on utility rates that has customers overpaying electric companies.

But what happens next?

As Michael Pope reports, lawmakers are divided.

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Virginia’s Oyster Shell Shortage Has A New Twist: Looking On Land


Volunteers from Chesapeake Bay Foundation and Tidewater Oyster Gardener’s Association hauling oyster shell. (Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

Virginia calls itself the “Oyster Capitol of the East Coast.”

But because the oyster population remains at historic lows, there’s a struggle for oyster farmers and state sanctuaries to keep up with the shell needed to continue producing more oysters.

Now, even homeowners are kicking in, as Pamela D’Angelo explains.

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Supplanting Or Shell Game: The Fight Over Lottery Money and Education Funding


Lottery profits are supposed to go to education.

But critics say lawmakers are engaged in a bait and switch.

Michael Pope explains why.

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Delegates Include Medicaid Expansion Money, But Fight With State Senate Looms

vacapitol_slideshowSupporters of expanding Medicaid are celebrating movement in the House of Delegates after many years of resistance.

The House included an expansion in its state budget proposal released over the weekend.

But, as Michael Pope reports, they still have to get through the Senate.

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Va. News Topics: Buena Vista Legal Fight, Culpupper County Explores Solar Power

VPAPnewThe city of Buena Vista has won the latest round in its legal battle against an insurance company. And Culpeper County is trying to decide whether to embrace the solar power industry.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

Fred Echols reports.

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Millennial Lawmakers Work Across Party Lines… Sometimes

Millennial Caucus

Millennial generation lawmakers announce the formation of Future Caucus. (Mallory Noe-Payne/Radio IQ)

The freshman class in Virginia’s House of Delegates is the most diverse in history.

But, as Michael Pope reports, it’s also one of the youngest.

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Virginia Republicans And Democrats Alike Have Complaints About President Trump’s Budget

Washington Weather

 (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Virginia lawmakers have mixed reactions to the sweeping federal budget proposal President Trump released this week.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has more on what the document means and doesn’t mean for our state.

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Film Tax Credit Faces Opposition But Gets Extension

Television Shoot Virginia

  A clap board is readied during the filming of an American Heroes Channel three-part series about the Revolutionary War in Powhatan County, Va., in 2014.
  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Should Hollywood moguls get money from Virginia taxpayers? Lawmakers in Richmond are divided.

Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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Remembering Virginia’s Role In “The Great War”

Norfolk WWI

The Navy Yard at Nofolk around 1917. Credit: Harry S. Truman Library & Museum

A hundred years ago this November, the First World War came to an end.

All of those who fought are now gone, but Virginia’s Historical Society wants Americans to remember what that conflict meant on the battlefield and here at home.

As Sandy Hausman reports, a special exhibit opens this weekend.

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The Only Gun Bill Still Alive In The General Assembly? One To Allow Them In Churches

General Assembly 2018-01Gun violence is back in the news this week.

It’s also a topic that lawmakers in Richmond are debating.

Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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Building A Road Map For Teaching About Slavery

National Summit on Teaching Slavery at James Madison's Montpelier

The Montpelier Foundation

It’s a question that has long vexed America: How do we teach our history of slavery?

Last weekend, James Madison’s Montpelier started working on an answer.

Jordy Yager has more.

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Poultry And Potential Pollution Get Scrutiny From DEQ, Neighbors


New poultry houses in Accomack County near the Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
Pamela D’Angelo

Big poultry on the DelMarVa Peninsula began by accident when  homemaker Cecile Steele was shipped 500 chicks to raise instead of the 50 she ordered. She kept them, made a profit and ordered a thousand the next year.

And so, an industry was born and has been growing ever since.

But the hundreds of thousands of tons of manure produced each year so close to the Chesapeake Bay worries residents of Virginia’s Eastern Shore as Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Richmond Raises Meals Tax to Pay for New Schools


Credit Tom Woodward / Flickr

Virginia’s capital city is raising its meals tax.

The money is earmarked to help fix the city’s crumbling schools. Richmond City Council voted late Monday night 7 to 2.

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


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New Lawmakers Face Obstacles In General Assembly Session

Danica Roem, Lee Carter, Debra Rodman, Kelly Convirs-Fowler

  Del. Lee Carter, D-Prince William recites the pledge of allegiance during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates. Carter may end the session with all of his legislative proposals killed.
Credit (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The halls of power in Richmond are loaded with new members after the wave election in November.

But, as Michael Pope reports, that doesn’t mean their proposals are seeing much success.

Being a freshman House member in the minority isn’t easy. You just got here and you’re not sure how it all works. And you’ve got Republicans eager to kill your bills just because you’re new.

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A Lesson In Curling

Screen Shot 2018-02-06 at 11.54.24 AM

  A contest at the Curling Club of Virginia
Credit Brad Kutner

While Virginia’s warm climate might not offer the perfect venue for some Winter Olympic sports, indoor ice rinks have opened their doors to the ancient art of Curling.

Brad Kutner takes us inside a regional club for more insight ahead of the games.

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NPR TV critic Eric Deggans to speak in Lexington

gold derby deggans pic 2

Eric Deggans (Credit: Washington & Lee University)

NPR TV critic Eric Deggans is giving a talk about race and media at Washington and Lee University in Lexington Tuesday night.

His talk is called “Building Bridges, Not Walls: Decoding Media’s Confusing Coverage of Race and Culture.”

Reporter Jessie Knadler has this preview.

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Virginia Delegation SOTU Reaction: Military Spending and Infrastructure


Credit Rog Cogswell, Creative Commons

Virginia lawmakers have mixed reactions to President Donald Trump’s first State of the Union address, especially on his call for a massive new infrastructure spending package.

Matt Laslo reports: Infrastructure

Matt Laslo reports: Military Spending

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Lawmakers Look To Put Limits On Internet Loans

Virginia_State_Capitol3In Richmond, a bipartisan coalition is cracking down on predatory lending.

Walk into a payday lender, and there are dozens of rules they have to follow to protect consumers. Same thing for a car title lender. But log into a website, and it’s the Wild West. That’s why Senator Scott Surovell, a Democrat from Fairfax County, wants to limit consumer finance loans to a 36 percent annual interest rate.

Michael Pope is at the Capitol with the latest.

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VA News: Public Art in Norfolk, Coastal Flood Warnings

VPAPnewScientists have found a more precise way to predict when and where flooding will happen on Virginia’s Atlantic coast, and a planned art exhibit in Norfolk caused some controversy in the workplace.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week on the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.

Fred Echols reports:

Click here for the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News Link.  

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House Panel Backs Expansion Of Medical Marijuana Oils

Allen Peake

  In this 2017 photo, various cannabis oil products are displayed in the office of a Georgia State Representative.
Credit (AP Photo/David Goldman)

Lawmakers in Virginia are taking the first step toward expanded use of medical marijuana.

Advocates for medical marijuana have tried and failed in Virginia year after year. A few years ago, they persuaded lawmakers to allow it for epilepsy. But that didn’t help Tamara Netzel. She’s a teacher from Alexandria who suffers from multiple sclerosis. And she brought her story to lawmakers in powerful testimony this week.

Michael Pope explains the new developments from the Capitol.


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Concern Builds For Culturally And Environmentally Sensitive Fones Cliffs


Fones Cliffs and the area mistakenly cleared.

Two years ago Richmond County, in Virginia’s Northern Neck, approved a controversial plan to build a large golf-course resort on a pristine cliff-top perched over the Rapphannock River.

Fones Cliffs is a favorite roosting spot for migrating and local bald eagles. It was also once occupied by the Rappahannock tribe more than 400 years ago. Last year, it was sold to five New York investors for $12 million. The 964-acre site is slated for a championship golf course, restaurant and bar and more than 700 houses.

But developers are off to a bad start after illegally clearing over 13 wooded acres. Pamela D’Angelo reports.


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Delegate: Strip Searches Needed To Fight Opioids

General Assembly 2018-01Lawmakers in Richmond are considering a number of bills responding to the opioid crisis.

Sheriffs across Virginia are worried that the opioid crisis is coming to a jail near you. That’s why they are asking Delegate Patrick Hope, a Democrat from Arlington, to introduce legislation allowing strip searches of inmates.

Michael Pope reports.


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A “Gentle” House of Delegates Tradition Gives Way

Danica Roem

Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, the first transgender delegate, takes her oath of office during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

Lawmakers in Richmond are dealing with a number of firsts walking the hallways, including the first lesbian first Asian-American woman lawmakers.


The House of Delegates is a place that loves its traditions. Like referring to the gentleman from Roanoke or the gentlewoman from Prince William. But Republicans are abandoning that tradition now that they are facing the first transgender delegate.

Michael Pope reports.


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Some Republicans And Democrats Find Common Ground In Opposition To Offshore Drilling

California Offshore Oil

This undated photo provided by the California State Lands Commission shows Platform Holly, an oil drilling rig in the Santa Barbara Channel offshore of the city of Goleta, Calif.
Credit (State Lands Commission via AP)

A bipartisan group of lawmakers from Virginia are upset over the Interior Department’s plans to open up waters off the east coast to oil and gas drilling.

Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is under fire from lawmakers up and down the east coast who oppose his plan to allow oil and gas drilling in the Atlantic Ocean. But the anger turned to outrage last week when Florida was given a waiver that blocks drilling off that states shores.

Correspondent Matt Laslo has the story from Washington.

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Richmond Group Boosts Inclusivity In Arts Community


BAAAR exhibit at Richmond’s annual 2nd Street Festival
Credit P. Muzi Branch/BAAAR

A Richmond group is working to ensure the contributions of Black artists are included in the city’s thriving cultural scene.


The Black American Artists Alliance of Richmond wants to see more Black art in museums, galleries and corporate collections across the city and state. Members include a muralist, a musician, even a quilt maker.

Samantha Willis has the story.

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Western Virginia Lawmakers Pushing Pipeline-related Legislation

Virginia Inauguration

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Lawmakers from southwest Virginia are pushing several bills responding to controversial plans to build natural gas pipelines in Virginia.

Michael Pope has more on their proposals.

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Interview: McAuliffe Reflects on Time as Virginia’s Governor

Terry McAuliffe, Elizabeth Guzman

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, waves to the gallery as he arrives to address a joint session of the the 2018 session in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Terry McAuliffe’s term as Governor of Virginia is coming to an end. McAuliffe’s official portrait was unveiled this week. In it he has his hand on an executive order. The one where he restored voting rights to former felons.

McAuliffe spoke with Virginia Public Radio’s Mallory Noe-Payne.

She began by asking whether that order was one of his proudest moments.

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Democrats Hope New Delegates Improve Medicaid Expansion Odds

Wendy Gooditis, Tia Walbridge

Wendy Gooditis speaks to supporters during her campaign for the House of Delegates.  (AP PHOTO/STEVE HELBER)

After years of pushing for expanding Medicaid, Democrats are hopeful that they’ll be able to use their new members in the House to finally make it happen.

For freshman Delegate Wendy Gooditis, a Democrat from Clarke County, the fight is personal.

Michael Pope explains why.


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After Years Of Trying, Congress Approves Recognition Of Virginia Tribes

Washington Weather


Six Virginia Native American tribes are cheering.

After a twenty-year effort, the United States Senate unanimously approved legislation that recognizes the Commonwealth’s tribes.

Correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.

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Lexington Looks To Avoid Conflicts Over MLK, Lee-Jackson Parades


The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaks April 15,1967 at a peace rally in New York City. January 15th is the birthday of the late civil rights leader. (AP Photo/stf)

In light of the deadly white nationalist rally in Charlottesville over the summer, Lexington residents wishing to honor Martin Luther King Jr. have opted for compromise over controversy.

Jessie Knadler has more on the potential conflict with the Lee-Jackson state holiday.

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Governor Terry McAuliffe Delivers Final State of the Commonwealth Address

Terry McAuliffe, Israel O'Quinn

Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe , center, shakes the hand of Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, left, after addressing a joint session of the the 2018 Virginia General Assembly for his last State of the Commonwealth address in the House chambers at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe gave his final State of the Commonwealth speech in Richmond Wednesday night.

He celebrated Virginia’s growing economy and low unemployment, and said his greatest pride while in office was restoring voting rights to former felons.

Mallory Noe-Payne reports on the speech.

Michael Pope has reaction from Republican and Democratic lawmakers.

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Cox Elected House Speaker On Traditionally Unanimous Vote

Kirk Cox

House speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, looks to the gallery after being elected speaker during opening ceremonies of the 2018 session of the Virginia House of Delegates at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Despite the drama in the last few weeks about who will control the Virginia House of Delegates, the session kicked off Wednesday with a unanimous vote for speaker.

Delegate Kirk Cox now holds the gavel and the title of Speaker of the House.

Michael Pope reports from the House floor.

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Medicaid, Gun Violence at Top of Incoming Governor’s Agenda

Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam

Virginia Gov.-elect, Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam, left looks to Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, right, as they detail their legislative package at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Jan. 9, 2018.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Democratic Governor-Elect Ralph Northam says expanding medicaid and reducing gun violence are at the top of his legislative agenda. He unveiled his priorities in Richmond Tuesday, along with current Governor Terry McAuliffe.

In a joint press conference, the incoming and outgoing Governors said they’re on the same page about what to throw their weight behind this legislative session. Policy proposals include a carbon trading plan, legislative protection for abortion rights, and no excuse absentee voting.

Mallory Noe-Payne has more.

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Women’s Equity Movement Extends To Hygiene Product Legislation



Two female lawmakers are introducing legislation as part of a growing movement to help women achieve equity.

It’s called menstrual equity. It’s a growing movement that’s prompting legislation in Washington and in state capitals across the country, including several this year in Richmond.

Michael Pope has the story.

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Democratic Voters Appeal Judge’s Decision In Fredericksburg Area Race

Session Midway

The Virginia House of Delegates in session at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Tuesday, Feb. 7, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Last week a federal judge in Alexandria denied a request from Fredericksburg voters to throw out the results of an election where dozens of voters were given the wrong ballot.

Now, as Michael Pope reports, those voters are appealing the case.

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Virginia Women’s Coalition Calls for No Cost Birth Control

Virginia Inauguration

(AP Photo/Steve Helber)

The Virginia Women’s Equality Coalition unveiled its 2018 legislative agenda Monday.

It includes paid family leave, equal pay, and no cost birth control. Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va. News Topics: A Realistic School Lesson And Snow Plow Art

VPAPnewSome recent artwork by students in Craig County is literally hitting the road this winter
and some parents in Fairfax County found an elementary school history lesson to be a
little too realistic.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s Va. News link.  Fred Echols reports.

Click here to visit the Virginia Public Access Project

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After Losing Democratic Nomination for Governor, Tom Perriello Starts PAC

tpg-tpsp-socialAfter losing the Democratic primary for governor, former Congressman Tom Perriello is now launching the next chapter in his political career. Michael Pope has the story.

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