Archive for category Virginia

VaNews: Sealing Police Names, Streaming Council Meetings

VPAPnewThe General Assembly is considering a new law that would prevent the public from learning the names of police officers. And open government advocates are criticizing cities that put their council meetings on the internet but exclude some citizen comments. Fred Echols reports.

Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org.

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General Assembly Measures on Enhancing School Safety

va-capitol-2 - CopyLawmakers in Richmond this legislative session are hoping to minimize the risk of gun violence in Virginia’s public schools. Mallory Noe-Payne reports on those efforts.

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Virginia Tech Students Fare Well in Competition to Design Supersonic Transportation

hyperloopBusiness Magnate and Inventor Elon Musk is a man known for his work on transportation of the future, be it space travel or electric vehicles.  His latest quest is something called a “Hyperloop”  a new kind of super-fast transportation that’s still in the design stage.  At a competition of prototypes this past weekend, Virginia Tech’s entry showed well.  Wes Williams has the story. 

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VaNews: Wild Animal Parts, Botetourt Wind Farm

VPAPnewThe General Assembly is considering loosening restrictions on the sale of wild animal parts in Virginia. And, a plan to build a wind farm in Botetourt County has upset some people in neighboring Rockbridge County. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on vpap.org. Fred Echols reports.

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Can a Local Schoolboard Prohibit a Transgender Student from Using the Restroom of their Choice?

10213630306_a79ebed4f5_oA legal battle that began in a Gloucester, Virginia high school will be heard Wednesday in Richmond by a federal appeals court.In question: whether a local school board can prohibit a transgender student from using the restroom of their choice. As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, the answer could guide school systems nationwide.

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Lawmakers Are Considering Bill That Could Bring Part-Time Expertise to Schools

SchoolhouseVirginia’s schools don’t have enough qualified teachers for career and technical classes…so lawmakers in Richmond are considering a bill that would ease requirements on those jobs. Under proposed legislation, schools could hire part-time professionals who know the subject to teach, but don’t have a teaching license.

Mallory Noe-Payne has the details.

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Surveying Private Property: Some Call it Trespassing

mvp_discussionPlans for three new natural gas pipelines in Virginia have been the source of contention between environmentalists and energy companies.
That debate landed in Richmond Monday, as environmental groups pushed for the repeal of a law that makes it easier for energy companies to survey private land. Mallory Noe-Payne has the details.

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VA’s Congressional Delegation Looks to the Year Ahead

capitol_dome__washington_dc_0Virginia lawmakers are laying down their legislative priorities for the new year, but Republicans doubt they can get much done with a Democrat in the White House. Matt Laslo reports from the capitol.

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Attorneys General Meet in DC to Discuss Curbing Gun Violence

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Image: Creative Commons

While Virginia’s legislature got back to work this week, the state’s executive branch continues to try to tackle gun violence on its own.
In a first of its kind meeting, Attorneys General from Virginia, Maryland and D.C. met in Washington today to discuss how the regions can work together to reduce gun-related crime and deaths. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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The General Assembly Kicks off in Grand Fashion

Virginia_flag_mapAmid much pomp and circumstance, day one of the Virginia General Assembly kicked off today in Richmond. Mallory Noe-Payne reports on the pageantry.

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General Assembly 2016 Predictions

va-capitol-2 - CopyVirginia’s legislature will begin its short session on Wednesday – hoping to consider about two thousand bills. Sandy Hausman spoke with long-time legislators and newcomers who predict plenty of fireworks before the General Assembly adjourns in about 45 days.

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Tangier Island Promised a Jetty – More Needs to Happen to Thwart Erosion

IMG_9860Tucked into Governor McAuliffe’s 2016 budget is $268,000 to build a badly-needed jetty on Tangier Island out in the Chesapeake Bay. The project took three years for the Army Corps of Engineers to study and will take another two years before it will be built. Islanders say they need it now —  and that more needs to be done to save the island. Pamela D’Angelo reports from Tangier.

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Governor Terry McAuliffe Reveals Proposed Higher Education Funding

highered-2Since the recession state funding for higher education across the country has plummeted, including here in Virginia, where it remains a quarter below what it was before the recession. Governor McAuliffe revealed details today about how he’d like to fund higher education in the state for the next two years. Mallory Noe-Payne reports from Richmond.

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Governor McAuliffe Announces Plan to Issue $2.5 Billion in Bonds, Mostly to State Colleges

unnamed (1)It’s a budget year in Virginia — meaning during this year’s legislative session the Governor and General Assembly will work to craft how the state spends its money for the next two years. Governor Terry McAuliffe won’t reveal his proposed budget until next week, but Wednesday in Richmond he did announce a plan to issue two-and-a-half billion dollars in bonds. Money from those bond sales will largely go to the state’s colleges. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Virginia Politicians Begin Eyeing 2017

download (2)Politicians in Richmond are already gearing up for 2017 elections — Delegate Rob Bell announced Thursday afternoon that he’s running for Virginia Attorney General.  Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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For Some Collegiate School Students, Recent Terrorist Attacks Hit Close to Home

orig_photo97278_2292215Although recent international terrorist attacks have shocked the world, they’ve had little impact on the day-to-day lives of most Virginians. But for one private school outside of Richmond, incidents of global terrorism have hit close to home. Mallory Noe-Paye reports.

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Reston at Fifty: Walkable, Sociable and Expensive

RestonYesterday, we shared with you the story of Tysons Corner – a fast-growing suburb in Northern Virginia, grappling with traffic, noise and sidewalks that don’t always connect.  Ironically, it’s evolving next to one of the nation’s first planned communities – a place designed to avoid those very problems and to offer instant community.  Reston is the subject of a new documentary which had its debut at the Virginia Film Festival.  Sandy Hausman reports on why Reston was once a revolutionary place, and why it’s now a model for other suburbs. 

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Writing Their Way Out of Prison

three_writersWith more than thirty thousand people in prison, Virginia’s Department of Corrections is the most expensive agency in the state.  To cut costs and assure public safety, officials need ways  to assure that inmates don’t go back to a life of crime when they are released.  At Virginia Commonwealth University, one professor is promoting a novel idea – helping inmates to write their way out.  Sandy Hausman has that story.

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Richmond Outranks Spots in France, Portugal as One of 2016’s “Best Places to Travel”

12241332_1506310463030018_4843991885483095372_nRichmond is making headlines, placing in a top spot on “Travel and Leisure Magazine’s” annual “Best Places to Travel List.” Among Caribbean beaches and European canals, Virginia’s capitol finds itself in good company — the magazine picked out 50 cities from around the world, and Richmond placed 3rd. Mallory Noe-Payne reports.

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Climate Change Debate Repurcussions will be Felt Across the Commonwealth

capitol_dome__washington_dc_0Virginia Republicans are trying to derail the global climate change talks in Paris. Matt Laslo reports on the battle raging in Washington that will be felt across Virginia. 

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Heroin Documentary Hopes to Raise Awareness

drug addiction on the old wooden background. White pill, syringeHeroin drug use is up in the state of Virginia. In fact, more Virginians died of overdose from heroin and prescription drugs than car crashes in 2014. The Attorney General’s Office is hoping a new film premiering today can help. Mallory Noe Payne reports.

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Finding Remedies for Suburban Sprawl

tysons_cornerTysons Corner is a model for what urban planners call an Edge City – located outside Washington, D.C., it’s the commercial center for Fairfax County, with two major shopping malls and countless corporate headquarters.  This year, the Metro arrived there, sparking new residential development and the prospect of much more pedestrian traffic – people walking to and from the train.  That prompted a team from the University of Virginia to launch a walking study of the place – hoping to document just how hard it is to get around Tysons on foot or bicycle, and to explore possible solutions.  Sandy Hausman tagged along and filed this report.

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Virginia’s Growing Oyster Industry Tempts Poachers

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Virginia is touting itself as the East Coast oyster capitol, last year harvesting more than half-a-million wild and farmed oysters valued at nearly $34 million. The growing industry is making it more tempting to poachers. Pamela D’Angleo reports from the Rappahannock River.

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As Southside Police Departments Look to Diversify, Budget Shortfall Poses Other Problems

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As Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring kicks off a study aimed at encouraging more minorities to enter law enforcement in the Commonwealth one of the Southside Virginia cities set to take part is dealing with severe financial problems that could make recruiting even more difficult. Fred Echols reports.

 

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Congress Wrestles with How to Help States Combat Heroin Epidemic

drug addiction on the old wooden background. White pill, syringeVirginia’s congressional delegation is wrestling with how the federal government can help states combat the heroin epidemic spreading across the east coast. Matt Laslo reports from the Capitol.

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Richmond’s St. Paul’s Episcopal Church Seeks to Become “Cathedral of Reconciliation”

8759347988_f0fa44d906_oKnown for years as the Church of the Confederacy, St Paul’s Episcopal Church is just across the street from Capitol Square in Richmond. But the church has announced steps this week to remove certain images of the Confederate Flag from inside the sanctuary. As Mallory Noe-Payne reports, it’s part of an effort at racial reconciliation.

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VaNews: Gender Identification, Write-In Candidates

VPAPnewTwo advocacy groups are asking Virginia to streamline the process for changing gender identification on birth certificates…and Lynchburg saw a record number of votes for write-in candidates on Election Day. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VA News link on VPAP.org. More from Fred Echols.

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As Virginia Considers Offshore Drilling, UMW Professor Examines Petroleum in Gulf of Mexico

7085157721_3241f2ec1e_oAs Virginia considers allowing drilling for oil off its coast, scientists at the University of Mary Washington are doing basic research that could prove valuable in the event of a spill.  Sandy Hausman reports on what they hope to learn after two weeks of trolling for oil in the Gulf of Mexico.

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Initiative to Diversify Police Departments Tested in Danville and Martinsville

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The Virginia Attorney General’s Office is developing a plan to increase diversity in police departments around the state beginning with a pilot program in Danville and Martinsville. Fred Echols reports.

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Virginians Feeling Good about Financial Situations; Strong Holiday Season Forecasted

santa1It looks like a strong Holiday buying season is in the forecast for Virginia. That’s according to the latest Virginia Consumer Sentiment report from the Roanoke College Institute for Policy and Opinion Research. Kelsea Pieters reports.

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Addressing Abuse, Neglect of the Elderly and Disabled

Va_Dept_for_Aging_and_Rehab_SvcsChildren typically have a state-provided safety net if they’re left without a suitable parent—especially when they’ve been abused. But what about the elderly adult or someone who suffers from a disability or mental illness?  Who do they turn to? Who takes care of them, and who pays for it?  These are some of the many questions the Commonwealth is trying to answer.

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Proposed Amendment to VA State Constitution

Ballot QuestionWhile the U.S. Senate and congressional elections have garnered most of the news headlines, Virginia voters will also see something else on the ballot when they go to the polls next week.  It’s a proposed amendment to the state Constitution that would enable local property tax relief for the surviving spouses of members of the military who were killed in action. It’s a measure that sailed through the General Assembly without ANY “no” votes.

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Making Headlines: Virginia’s Reputation

GivingSpreeIt wasn’t long ago that Virginia was a political powerhouse to be reckoned with. But now, Eric Cantor, its most powerful voice in Congress, has been silenced, a Virginia delegate will soon answer to charges of having an inappropriate relationship with a minor, and its nationally recognized former governor, Bob McDonnell, is on trial.  Now many are asking:  Is this soap opera-like trial tarnishing the state’s reputation … or causing Virginians to lose faith in their leadership?  Virginia Public Radio’s Tommie McNeil has more.

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