Archive for category Uncategorized

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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Taikein Cooper

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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A Breakdown of New Crime Statistics from the Virginia State Police, FBI

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Crime is down across Virginia.

Michael Pope reports that new data offers insights on where it’s happening.

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New American Civil War Museum Explores the ‘Fullness of the Past’

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(Credit Penelope M. Carrington / The American Civil War Museum)

This weekend, the American Civil War Museum opens in Richmond for the first time.

The institution is six years in the making… the result of a merger between the American Civil War Center and the Museum of the Confederacy.

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s a timely look at history that’s loomed large in recent years.

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East Coast States Act to Stop Overfishing of Striped Bass

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(Credit: Biodiversity Heritage Library via flicr.com / CC)

A dwindling population of striped bass, better known on restaurant menus as rockfish, has alarmed states from Florida to Maine.

This week, Atlantic State Marine Fisheries Commissioners drew up a plan to cut back landings by the commercial and recreational fisheries, including in the Chesapeake Bay.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Virginia Representatives have Roles in Climate Committee

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(Credit: John Brighenti via flickr.com / CC)

One of the first things Democrats did after taking control of the House of Representatives was to create a new Select Committee on Climate Crisis.

As Michael Pope reports, the committee has Virginia congressmen on opposite sides of a debate over coal.

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State Fight Against Obesity to Include Environmental Factors

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Nearly a third of Virginia’s adult population has obesity. A new statewide plan is looking to address the issue.

Mallory Noe-Payne has details.

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Va. News: Danville residents mixed on Casinos, Pitcher from Southside brings local fish to Milwaukee

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A Southside Virginia native who has made it big in baseball is taking his favorite piece of his hometown with him.

And Danville residents seem to have mixed feelings about the possibility of a casino coming to town.

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 gets High Grade for Financial Education

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(Credit: Champlain College Center for Financial Literacy)

Here’s one thing Virginia is getting right: financial education in high schools.

Michael Pope explains why.

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After 100 Days Controlling the House, Virginia Dems Tout Accomplishments, Intra-Party Debate

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

This month Democrats reached their 100th day controlling the U. S. House of Representatives. But some fissures are starting to show in the party.

Washington Correspondent Matt Laslo reports on how some new lawmakers are starting to show some frustration with life in the nation’s capital.

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Why Biden Bypassed Charlottesville for Campaign Kickoff

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 (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

Late last week rumors circulated that Joe Biden would come to Virginia to announce a run for the presidency, but it now appears he’ll be going elsewhere.

Sandy Hausman reports on why his campaign might have considered launching from Charlottesville and what may have scared them off.

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Va. News: Limits on catching Rockfish, Portsmouth may end Misdemeanor Marijuana charges

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Another Virginia prosecutor has announced plans to stop trying misdemeanor marijuana cases.  And Virginia may shorten this year’s striped bass season.

 

 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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NASA Aims for Space and Battles Erosion on Wallops Island

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NASA Wallops Flight Facility shoreline that is undergoing replenishment this year. To the left is the launch pad under preparation in February for April’s launch.
(Credit: Pamela D’Angelo)

NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on the Eastern Shore sits at the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

It’s a climate change hot spot, where rising waters and stronger storms are eroding about 12 feet of shoreline every year.

For NASA, science and persistence are major tools in climate resilience.

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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New Analysis Catalogs the Wealth of Virginia Lawmakers

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How wealthy are members of the General Assembly?

Michael Pope found some answers.

Click here to see the complete data from VPAP

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Cardiac Cavs Force Overtime, Win National Championship

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The University of Virginia outlasted Texas Tech in overtime, 85-77, Monday night in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Championship game.

Greg Echlin has more from Minneapolis where UVA made team history with its first men’s hoops title.

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UVA Squeaks by Auburn, Will Play for National Championship Monday Night

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After a bizarre finish to the first national semifinal game on Saturday night, the Virginia Cavaliers are in their first men’s basketball title game Monday night against Texas Tech.

Greg Echlin has more from Minneapolis.

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Va. News: Empty boxes at the Port of Virginia, One Person’s FOIA requests tying up Pulaski County

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The Port of Virginia says many of the containers it’s shipping out are empty. That’s not a good sign for the U.S. balance of trade.  And Pulaski County leaders say one person is using the Freedom of Information Act to tie up months of staff time.

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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Advocates for Menstrual Equity Shift Attention to Schools

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Women across Virginia are about to get a tax break on feminine hygiene products.

Michael Pope reports.

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Virginia Cavaliers Ready for Final Four

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The University of Virginia men’s basketball team is getting ready to play Auburn in the Final Four Saturday night.

Greg Echlin  has more from Minneapolis.

UVA coach Tony Bennett isn’t far from his roots at the Men’s Final Four in Minneapolis.

Greg Echlin explains why.

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General Assembly Agrees to End License Suspensions for Unpaid Court Costs

 

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Credit: Patrick Feller via flickr.com / CC

More than half a million people in Virginia with outstanding court fines are about to get their driver’s licenses back.

That’s thanks to a budget amendment from Democratic Governor Ralph Northam that was approved yesterday by a Republican-led General Assembly.

Michael Pope reports.

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Va. News: Virginia Lottery faced 1990’s controversy, new rules for Roanoke dog owners

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Rental property owners are bringing 21st-Century technology into the battle against dog poop…and we take a look back at the time the Virginia State Lottery was at the center of an intercontinental controversy. 

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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Data Shows Steady Decline of Virginia Manufacturing Jobs

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Source: Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service

Manufacturing in Virginia is suffering, according to data from the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service.

Michael Pope looked into the numbers.

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Virginia’s First Green Cemetery

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An old dairy barn greets visitors to Duck Run. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

The National Funeral Directors Association reports a typical viewing and burial can cost more than seven-thousand dollars on average, and that doesn’t count the price of a spot in the cemetery.

That’s one factor feeding a growing trend toward cremation and natural burials.

Sandy Hausman stopped by Virginia’s first green cemetery and filed this report.

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Northam Proposes Regional Gas Tax, Fee Increases to Fund Interstate 81 Improvements

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  Traffic on Interstate 81 near Salem (Credit: David Seidel)

The governor and state transportation officials are making a second run at funding improvements on Interstate 81.

David Seidel explains how.

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Fields Pleads Guilty to Federal Charges, Will Not Face Death Penalty

 

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U.S. Attorney Thomas Cullen announces a plea deal. James Fields admits guilt in the Charlottesville car attack and will not be sentenced to death. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

After a conviction in state court earlier this year, James Fields has pleaded guilty to federal charges in connection with the death of Heather Heyer and the injury of 28 others after a racist rally in Charlottesville.

As Sandy Hausman reports, the U.S. Attorney and Heyer’s mother are both satisfied that Fields will spend the rest of his life in prison.

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Northam Moves to Restore 627,000 Licenses Suspended Over Court Fees and Fines

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Governor Ralph Northam says he’s added language to the budget that would end the practice of taking away a driver’s license if someone is unable to pay court fees or fines. (Credit: Sandy Hausman)

More than 620,000 Virginians have lost their driver’s license, because they couldn’t afford to pay court fines or fees that had nothing to do with driving.

Tuesday, Governor Northam announced a plan to restore driving privileges as Sandy Hausman reports.

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Va. News: Bath County school buses offer WiFi, Establishing a Line between two Va. Counties

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Two Virginia counties now know exactly where one of them ends and the other begins, something that hasn’t been clear for almost 200 years. And elementary school students in another county are getting a chance to make better use of their time on the bus.

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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Study Shows Many Virginia Communities Suffer from Poor Air Quality

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Credit onnola/flickr.com/CC

Virginia’s air quality has been a topic of debate in recent years, as environmentalists have clashed with business interests.

Meanwhile, as Michael Pope reports the quality of Virginia’s air has suffered.

 

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Virginia Democrats split on Medicare for All Proposals

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(Credit: Rog Cogswell/Creative Commons)

The Democratic Party seems to be moving to the left with most of its high-profile presidential candidates embracing proposals like Medicare for All.

But Virginia Democrats are resisting the trend, as correspondent Matt Laslo reports from Washington.  

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“I thank God every day” — Exhibit Traces Impact of Immigrants on Virginia

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More than a million Virginians were born in another country.

 

Those immigrants are just the latest in a long line of people who have shaped the state.

 

As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, their stories are being highlighted in an exhibit at the Library of Virginia.

 

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How Forests Help Mitigate Flooding

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Trees are big money in Virginia, generating some $21 billion each year, according to the state department of Forestry.

Another $6.6 billion is attributed to forest contribution to air and water quality.

 

Now, the city of Virginia Beach is looking at the value of the city’s forests as one solution to their flooding problems caused by climate change and the region’s sinking lands.

 

Pamela D’Angelo reports.

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Study: Virginia Bucks National Trend for School Spending

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Credit: dcJohn / Flickr

Many school districts across the country remain largely segregated by race.

Nationally, nonwhite school districts get $23 billion less in funding than white districts do.

But as Mallory Noe-Payne tells us, Virginia actually bucks that trend.

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Public Protest Casts a Shadow on Solar Arrays

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  A Utah company hopes to cover about 3,500 acres in Spotsylvania County with solar panels like these.   (Credit National Renewable Energy Lab)

A group called Conservatives for Clean Energy recently surveyed 500 Virginia voters and found 72% want more emphasis on solar power here.

But as developers share plans with the public, they’re finding plenty of resistance.

Sandy Hausman reports on why some people object to solar arrays and whether their fears are founded.

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VT Biologists Find Cancer Connection to Our Body Clock

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  Carla Finkielstein and Xianlin Zou compare notes in the laboratory.
(Credit Virginia Tech)

A new discovery finds that timing is everything when it comes to preventing and treating cancer.

Scientists at Virginia Tech are the first to confirm the important role our body’s internal clocks play in whether we are more prone to develop the disease.

Robbie Harris reports.

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Va. News: Public investment in privately owned rail, Coal-fired power plants go off line

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Two more coal burning power plants have gone offline in Virginia as producers move toward other fuels…and passenger rail service is growing in the state thanks largely to public investment in private companies. 

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 Lawmakers find Common Ground Fighting Financial Crime

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(Credit: John Brighenti / Flickr)

Washington gets a lot of bad publicity for partisan gridlock, and there’s certainly a lot of that.

But two freshman Virginia lawmakers from different parties are working together to crack down on financial crimes.

Michael Pope reports.

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