Local News
8:37 am
Tue July 22, 2014

Overhauling Mental Health System in Virginia

State Senate Creigh Deeds (D-Va)
Credit officiakl photo

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia lawmakers are promising a top-to-bottom review of the state's mental health system with the goal of making it a model for the rest of the country.

A new mental health reform panel met for the first time Monday in Richmond.

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Local News
12:35 pm
Fri July 11, 2014

Shortfall in Virginia State Budget

Credit Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia ended fiscal 2014 with a $438.5 million shortfall, a 1.6 percent drop from the year before.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe's administration announced the shortfall Thursday. His office did not say whether the shortfall would lead to budget cuts.

The governor signed a budget last month that had anticipated a smaller budget shortfall for fiscal 2014 of about $350 million.

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Local News
9:06 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Virginia GOP Calls Special Session on Medicaid Expansion


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia Republican legislative leaders are scheduling a special session in September to debate whether to expand Medicaid eligibility, something GOP lawmakers have already made clear they oppose.

House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment announced Wednesday the General Assembly will be back into session during the week of Sept. 22.

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Local News
7:45 am
Mon June 16, 2014

Virginia, Providing More Info on Alzheimer's

Credit creative commons

LYNCHBURG, Va. (AP) - Virginia is revamping its Alzheimer's initiative website to provide more information to patients, physicians and caregivers.

The retooled website will be launched this summer. The News & Advance reports that the website will include an Alzheimer's database with information on everything from care giving to cognitive impairment.

The website also will give primary-care physicians access to lists of Alzheimer's specialists and clinics that can do memory assessments.

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Local News
8:31 am
Thu June 5, 2014

Virginia Re-Examines Restrictive Building Codes for Abortion Providers

Credit woman symbol

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The debate over new abortion clinic regulations is restarting at the Virginia Board of Health.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe last month directed the board to review the regulations and appointed five new board members who support abortion rights. The board meets Thursday for the first time since receiving the order. Activists on both sides of the abortion issue say they plan to speak during a public comment period.

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Local News
8:16 am
Fri May 30, 2014

Virginia Inches Toward Medicaid Expansion

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RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A proposed small procedural change to a legislative commission may be the starting point of a compromise that ends a months-long impasse over the Virginia state budget.

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Local News
10:56 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Marriage Equality Could Bring Big Dollars to Virginia

John and Tommy Fisher-Klein ceremony
Credit equality maryland

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - A report by a think tank at UCLA says legalizing gay marriages in Virginia could generate up to $60 million in spending in three years.

The Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law estimates that about 7,000 same-sex couples may choose to get married in Virginia within three years of a change in law. In February, a federal judge in Norfolk struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriages. The decision has been stayed pending an appeal, and a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in Richmond on May 13.

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Local News
8:14 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Extra Time for Public Input on Atlantic Offshore Oil and Gas Drilling


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The federal government has added 30 more days for the public to weigh in on its guidelines for seismic testing in Atlantic waters for oil and gas reserves.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management says the public now has until May 7 to comment on the rules.

Earlier this year, the agency outlined environmental guidelines intended to protect marine life if the government allows the testing, which would be a first step in the development of an offshore oil industry off Virginia and other states in the Mid-Atlantic and off the southern coast.

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Local News
9:29 am
Wed September 18, 2013

More Than 300 Dead Dolphins Wash Up on Virginia Shores

Credit Creative Commons wikimedia

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) - Virginia has recorded the deaths of more than 300 dolphins since they began washing ashore in July.

That number is many times more the number of dolphins that typically are found dead on state beaches. Over the past decade, the annual average has been 65.

While most of the deaths have occurred in Virginia, dolphins have washed up from New York to North Carolina.

In late August, federal fisheries scientists said preliminary results pointed to a virus that was the cause of the last dolphin die-off, in 1987.

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12:02 pm
Thu August 1, 2013

Virginia Officials Approve Health Plans for Federal Exchange


RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Eleven health plans have been approved by Virginia officials to compete on a new federally run insurance exchange.

But a state official says Virginia's approval of the plans is simply a recommendation.

State Corporation Commission insurance commissioner Jacqueline K.  Cunningham tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch that the federal government will decide which plans will compete on the exchange and the rates that they can charge.

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9:33 am
Thu July 25, 2013

Sales Tax Holiday for School Supplies in Virginia

Credit Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia is giving shoppers a break on buying back-to-school supplies.

Gov. Bob McDonnell's office said Wednesday that the annual back-to-school sales tax holiday will begin Aug. 2 and run through Aug. 4.

During the 4-day holiday, shoppers at retail stores statewide won't have to pay sales tax on notebooks, pens, calculators, binders and other school supplies priced up to $20.

Shoes and most clothing items priced up to $100 also will be exempt from the sales tax.

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12:26 pm
Wed July 24, 2013

Virginia's Same Sex Marriage Ban Challenged in Federal Court

Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Republican Gubernatorial Candidate
Credit cuccinelli campaign website

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A Norfolk couple is challenging Virginia's gay marriage ban.

Timothy B. Bostic and Tony C. London say in a federal lawsuit that they were turned down when they tried to obtain a marriage license at the Norfolk Circuit Court on July 1.

Their lawsuit argues that Virginia's unequal treatment of gays and lesbians denies them equal protection and liberties guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.

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12:17 pm
Tue July 9, 2013

Virginia Same-Sex Marriage Ban Faces Legal Challenge

Credit Lambda Legal Defense and Education Fund

Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage will be challenged in federal court by the state’s American Civil Liberties Union.

The state's voters approved a 2006 amendment to the state constitution that not only bans same-sex marriage but does not allow for recognition of same-sex marriages in other states.

There are now around a dozen such states.

The ACLU is joining the gay rights organization Lambda Legal Defense Fund to claim that the ban violates the constitutional guarantee of equal protection under the law.

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9:07 am
Tue July 2, 2013

Crop Planting Forecast is Down

Credit Don Rush

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A survey of Virginia growers forecasts increased acres devoted to soybeans, tobacco, barley and wheat, while cotton and peanut plantings are down.

The survey of Virginia producers was conducted in early June by the National Agriculture Statistics Services. Plantings for three signature crops - tobacco, peanuts and cotton - offer a mixed bag. Tobacco plantings are up 9 percent, while cotton declined 19 percent and peanuts 30 percent.

Nearly 1.3 million acres are devoted to hay, a decrease of less than 1 percent.

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9:43 am
Wed June 26, 2013

Virginia Reacts to High Court Decision on Voting Rights Act

Presidential Recount in Florida 2000
Credit strabic.rf

The U.S. Supreme Court decision striking Section 4 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act will allow the Virginia Counties of Accomack and Northampton on the Eastern Shore to make electoral changes without getting pre-clearance of the federal government.

Before the ruling any such change such as redrawing electoral districts to the choice of voting machines had to wait 60 day for a decision from the U.S. Justice Department.

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9:23 am
Thu January 31, 2013

Another Suspected Arson on Virginia Eastern Shore


Another blaze has broken out in the recent spate of arson fires in Accomack County.

Virginia Police say they are investigating a suspected arson…that occurred around 12:30 am yesterday morning at an abandoned home in Wachapreague at the intersection of Drummondtown and Chancetown roads.

Local resident LaDawn Logan told the Salisbury Daily Times that she opened her door to see the old house go up in flames.

The latest blaze has caused concern in the community with Logan saying the authorities need to catch the arsonists.

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8:26 am
Thu January 17, 2013

VA Lawmakers Consider Cut In Menhaden Catch

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Virginia legislators are set to consider a 20 percent cut in the catch of menhaden, an oily fish used in dietary supplements, animal feed and other purposes.

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission voted last month in Baltimore to reduce the commercial catch of the pudgy fish. A House of Delegates subcommittee is scheduled to review that decision on Thursday.

The Omega Protein plant in Reedville lands about 80 percent of the catch and employs about 300. The company had supported an overall 10 percent cut.

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7:58 am
Tue September 11, 2012

Virginia Loses Federal Bay Restoration Funds

Chesapeake Bay, 123rf,com

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - Virginia is losing federal aid for Chesapeake Bay restoration projects because regulators aren't satisfied with the state's efforts to address storm water pollution.

The Virginian-Pilot  says the Environmental Protection Agency notified the state late last month that it is withholding $1.2 million in grant money. Virginia was supposed to receive more than $2.4 million this year.

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12:58 pm
Fri September 7, 2012

Virginia Tops Wetlands Restoration Last Year


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Virginia restored more wetlands than any other state in the Chesapeake Bay watershed last year.

The Chesapeake Bay Program says 3,775 acres of wetlands were restored in 2011, led by Virginia which restored 1,653 acres. Maryland was second with 750 acres and New York third with 625. West Virginia restored 369 acres, Pennsylvania 254, and Delaware 123.

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8:37 am
Wed August 29, 2012

Federal Grant to Help Va. Farmers Save the Bay

Chesapeake Bay

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - The Chesapeake Bay Foundation has been awarded a $198,740 grant to work with farmers in Virginia.

The funding announced Tuesday from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation will help the Chesapeake Bay Foundation train more Virginia farmers on sustainable grazing management and other environmental-friendly practices. The objective of the partnership is to reduce the flow of pollutants and sediments into the Chesapeake Bay.

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8:58 am
Wed March 14, 2012

Jobless Rate in Virginia Hits Three Year Low


            The jobless rate in Virginia hit 5.8 percent January.

            That’s down from 6.2 percent in December and 6.4 percent in January of last year.

            Governor Bob McDonnell said yesterday that the drop to a three year low comes despite job declines across the majority of the state’s industries over the last month.

            McDonnell along with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolliing and State Commerce Secretary Jim Cheng made the announcement…during an appearance at the Richmond based James River Air Conditioning Company.

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12:16 pm
Thu February 23, 2012

Virginia Senate Committee Approves Personhood Amendment


     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - A bill that would define life as starting at conception has been approved in a key Senate committee.

     Eight Republicans voted for the measure, and the committee's seven Democrats opposed it after an hour-long hearing on the bill that is similar to one in Missouri.

     The bill passed after an amendment clarifying that no provision in it would restrict the use of federally approved contraception.

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12:14 pm
Fri February 17, 2012

Adoption Agencies Could Discriminate Against Gay Couples Under Legislation in Virginia


     RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - With little debate, a Senate committee has endorsed a House-passed bill allowing private child placement agencies to deny adoptions for gays or others who offend their religious or moral teaching.

     The measure heads to the Senate floor after an 8-7 party-line vote Friday in the Republican-dominated Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee. The Senate has already approved a similar bill and sent it to the House.