VaNews

Tuesday September 27, 2016


Executive Branch


MCAULIFFE PROMOTES RURAL ACCESS TO HIGH-SPEED INTERNET

By PAMELA A. D’ANGELO , Free Lance-Star

Gov. Terry McAuliffe opened his annual “Summit on Rural Prosperity” Monday with a bragging session about Virginia’s latest unemployment rate of 3.9 percent. But at the heart of his speech and this two-day meeting (in Irvington) is how to spread the wealth to Virginia’s rural communities that still don’t have access to high-speed internet.



EXECUTIVE MANSION DEDICATES GARDEN TO MEMORY OF ENSLAVED

By LAUREN WORTHINGTON, Richmond Free Press

Imagine living and working hundreds of miles away from your family for years, with no smartphone, no internet, no means of transportation and no sense of how far you are from home. Now imagine being unable to read or write, but figuring out a way to communicate. This was the reality of dozens of enslaved people from Abingdon, in Southwest Virginia, who had family members who were taken to live and work in Richmond at the Governor’s Mansion.

General Assembly


GOVERNOR, NORMENT TRY TO REASSURE LOCAL COMMISSIONERS OF REVENUE ON BUDGET OUTLOOK

By MICHAEL MARTZ , Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-James City, found common ground but few answers for local commissioners of revenue about lost raises for their employees and threats to local tax revenues. McAuliffe and Norment, speaking separately to the Commissioners of Revenue Association of Virginia on Monday, bemoaned the loss of scheduled raises for their offices, as well as partial funding in the budget for a career development program the commissioners have made their top legislative priority.



BEFORE DOMESTIC ABUSE CHARGES, COURT RECORDS SHOW DEL. RICK MORRIS ADMITTED TO ADULTERY

By PATRICK WILSON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

State Del. Rick Morris, R-Suffolk, who will be arraigned in court Tuesday on felony domestic abuse charges, admitted to adultery while married to his now ex-wife in a 2013 divorce case in which he paid her $72,000. Morris’s then-wife Cristina Morris alleged in the February 2013 filing in Isle of Wight Circuit Court that Morris “carried on an open and adulterous relationship” with another woman since December 2010.

Federal Elections


IN A NORFOLK SPORTS BAR, CLINTON-TRUMP DEBATE CAN'T COMPETE WITH NFL FOOTBALL

By BILL BARTEL , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

For the record, Andrea Goodwin cares about who will be the next president. But sitting at the bar in Baxter’s Sports Lounge on Monday night, Goodwin, her dad and several dozen other patrons decided watching the New Orleans Saints take on the Atlanta Falcons was a better use of their time than listening to Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.



POLL: CLINTON’S LEAD GROWS MODESTLY IN VA. WHILE LIBERTARIAN PICKS UP MILLENNIALS

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post

Democrat Hillary Clinton has a comfortable lead over Republican Donald Trump in the battleground state of Virginia, a new poll finds ahead of their first debate Monday, but Libertarian Gary Johnson is picking off millennial supporters from both. Clinton is leading with likely Virginia voters 48 percent to Trump’s 38 percent in a head-to-head matchup, according to a survey released Monday by the Wason Center for Public Policy at Christopher Newport University.



ELECTION OFFICIALS, POLICE DISCUSS SECURITY

By TONY BROWN, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Security will be tight at Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s polling places Nov. 8 for this year’s contentious presidential election. But it also will be stealthy, police and voting officials said Monday. Officers from three police departments and the Harrisonburg Fire Department met with the city Electoral Board on Monday morning at City Hall to discuss security strategy in a lengthy closed session.



FIGHT FLARES AGAIN OVER URANIUM MINING AT 5TH DISTRICT DEBATE

By ALEX ROHR, News & Advance

The fuse trailing from an attack ad by Democratic candidate Jane Dittmar against state Sen. Tom Garrett’s energy and environment record sparked Monday at the Appomattox debate. The audience question regarding each 5th Congressional District candidate’s stance on uranium mining lit the confrontation toward the end of the debate that until then had been marked by general agreement private businesses are overregulated.

Economy/Business


THE BEST REDSKINS STADIUM SITE IN VIRGINIA IS ABOUT TO GO UP FOR SALE

By JONATHAN O'CONNELL, Washington Post

In the increasingly urban and pricey Washington area, there are precious few available parcels of land near a Metro station large enough to accommodate a modern NFL stadium. One exception is the site of the current RFK stadium. A second is about to go up for sale, after a family business disagreement landed a 280-acre site in Loudoun County under control of a new manager, creating a possible opportunity for Dan Snyder and Gov. Terry McAuliffe to build a new stadium for the team.

Virginia Other


SOLAR FARM UP FOR A VOTE IN CHESAPEAKE .... AGAIN

By KATHERINE HAFNER , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

A solar farm in southern Chesapeake is up for a City Council vote for a fourth time this week, and city leaders will also take up changes to the way police regulate taxi drivers. North Carolina-based SunEnergy1 applied earlier this year to operate a 241-acre solar farm along U.S. 17 at Ballahack Road. The 20-megawatt farm would use 63,500 noiseless photovoltaic modules. It has drawn opposition from some Ballahack residents who say it would be a potential eyesore and waste of farmland.



SOLAR PROJECT TO COMING TO CLARKE COUNTY

Associated Press

Clarke County is getting a new solar project that will generate enough power for thousands of homes. Gov. Terry McAuliffe says the Clarke Solar Farm will house 20 megawatts of generating capacity. It’s being developed by Hecate Energy LCC, a Tennessee-based company that owns and operates projects across the country.

Local


RICHMOND MAYORAL CANDIDATE JOE MORRISSEY CALLS FOR REMOVAL OF JEFFERSON DAVIS STATUE

By NED OLIVER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Former Del. Joseph D. Morrissey waded into the simmering debate over public memorials to the Confederacy on Monday, announcing that one of his first actions as Richmond mayor would be to pursue removing the Jefferson Davis statue from Monument Avenue. “The Jefferson Davis statue is a political statue that glorified a failed political organization and championed a cause — slavery — that all Americans now find abhorrent,” he said.



PETERSBURG MAKES CRITICAL $1.4 MILLION PAYMENT TO VIRGINIA RESOURCES AUTHORITY

By MARKUS SCHMIDT, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

State officials confirmed Monday that Petersburg made a $1.4 million bond payment owed to the Virginia Resources Authority about one week before the Oct. 1 deadline. Virginia Deputy Secretary of Administration Gina M. Burgin said that the funds were received at 3:11 p.m. Friday.



ASHLAND OFFERS INCENTIVES FOR DEMOLISHING DILAPIDATED BUILDINGS, CONSTRUCTING HOTELS

By DEBBIE TRUONG, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Hoteliers who raze and replace dilapidated buildings in Ashland could gain hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax rebates. In an effort to provide an incentive for a costly undertaking and to revitalize neglected sites, the town’s Economic Development Authority last week launched a policy that would reimburse up to 50 percent in occupancy taxes to businesses that demolish and replace “dilapidated and underutilized” buildings with a hotel.



CLOSED SESSION MEETING PLANNED TO DISCUSS COMPLICATIONS WITH VIRGINIA BEACH ARENA FINANCES

By ALISSA SKELTON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

A new report says the city should move full steam ahead with building a sports and entertainment arena near the Oceanfront. But the public won’t get a detailed explanation for how Johnson Consulting arrived at that conclusion because many of the financial predictions upon which it’s based have been redacted from the report.



ATTORNEY GENERAL ASKED TO PROBE BOARD OF SUPERVISORS' REFERENDUM STANCE

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Virginia's attorney general has been asked to investigate the way the Augusta County Board of Supervisors is distributing information on the county courthouse referendum. The request came after former state Sen. Frank Nolen filed a complaint with the Augusta County Electoral Board. Nolen has questions about the neutrality of statements the supervisors have made during recent town hall meetings and tours about the referendum, which, if passed by county voters on Nov. 8, would authorize the board to move the courthouse from Staunton to Verona.



FOLLOWING CONTROVERSY SPARKED BY PHOTO, DANVILLE POLICE CHANGE POLICY FOR RAISED HOODS

By MICHAEL ​LIVINGSTON, Danville Register & Bee

At first, Shakeva Frazier didn’t see anything unusual about the Danville police patrol cars with raised hoods. “When I [saw] it, I was thinking ‘they must be trying to shield themselves’ … not knowing that they had the excuse of [patrol cars] overheating,” she said. A picture taken by a Danville Register & Bee reporter of Danville police investigating a crime scene last month showed the hoods of two patrol cars raised. It raised questions about whether those hoods obscured the view of the cars’ dashboard cameras.


Editorials


DON'T LET DRILLING COMPANIES HIDE FRACKING DATA

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

At the behest of oil and gas interests, a state commission has suggested that Gov. Terry McAuliffe delay the implementation of new drilling rules. The industry wants time to ram through the General Assembly a new exemption to the state’s Freedom of Information Act so it can keep secret the chemicals companies use in fracking. The governor should say no. Whatever proprietary interest companies might have in keeping their fracking formulas from competitors is heavily outweighed by the public interest in disclosure.



WHY PIPELINE OPPONENTS SHOULDN'T COUNT ON FERC

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

It’s campaign season, which means politicians of a certain stripe are railing about heavy-handed bureaucrats in Washington crushing the life out of businesses with their burdensome rules and regulations. They may be right. Except we have to point out that one particular federal agency seems curiously immune to this rapacious urge to regulate, dictate and intervene. We refer, of course, to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission...



FULL ACCOUNTING NEEDED OF U.VA.'S STRATEGIC FUND

Free Lance-Star Editorial

The University of Virginia—motivated partly by its perhaps justifiable belief that it deserves a place at the table with the Harvards and Yales, and partly by the reality that it can’t depend on consistent funding from the state—seems to want to be freed from the “public” part of its “Public Ivy” mantle. While many may have long ago recognized U.Va.’s longing to be listed amid the top echelon of higher education, the veil came off this summer with news of a $2.3 billion Strategic Investment Fund—the incredible size of which the school’s board of visitors had not been apprised.



SCOT FREE

Richmond Free Press Editorial

We are glad the sad, sordid saga of former Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, is finally over. On Sept. 8, federal prosecutors announced they would not seek a second trial against the pair on corruption charges after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned their convictions in June. While Mr. McDonnell and his wife are now free, they continue to be an embarrassment to themselves, their family and the people of Virginia.



SHERIFF MAKES THE RIGHT MOVES AT PORTSMOUTH REGIONAL JAIL

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Norfolk Sheriff Robert McCabe is making the right moves at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail. McCabe replaced the previous superintendent, David Simon, less than a month ago. But he already has given the public reason for hope that change is afoot. The other day McCabe held an hour-long meeting with the press — a sharp contrast to the behavior of his predecessor. He has released some of the video from outside the jail cell of Jamycheal Mitchell, and he has criticized the practices of jail personnel — going so far as to suggest some could soon be looking for work.



DELEGATE SHOULD STEP DOWN

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Here’s what we know: Del. Rick Morris has been charged with felonious cruelty and causing injuries to children, as well as child endangerment. The Suffolk Republican also faces multiple misdemeanor counts of domestic assault. We know, too, that the GOP House leadership has asked him to resign immediately. ... Morris is entitled to his day in court. That’s the way the judicial system works. Any person is innocent until proven guilty. The political system works somewhat differently, however.

Columnists


CHESLEY: SMALL IMPROVEMENTS AT JAIL, BUT LARGE ISSUES REMAIN

By ROGER CHESLEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Just because more deaths happen at the Hampton Roads Regional Jail than other local correctional facilities doesn’t mean residents should be unduly alarmed. Conversely, just because the sickest, most mentally disturbed inmates are dispatched to the regional jail doesn’t absolve government from fighting the ghastly conditions under which some inmates have died.



CASEY: THE MOST POWERFUL FEMALE POL EVER TO EMERGE FROM VIRGINIA?

By DAN CASEY, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)

Remember former Roanoker Toni Atkins? I’ve written about her a couple of times. Virginia-born-and-raised, and the daughter of a lead miner, it’s a pretty good bet that she’s the most powerful female politician ever to emerge from the Old Dominion. Atkins, 54, grew up in a blue-collar household in Roanoke’s Old Southwest neighborhood. ... As the waters rose during the flood of 1985, she packed up her car and drove west to San Diego, California.

From vpap.org


VISUALIZATION: BREAKING DOWN VIRGINIA DONATIONS TO CLINTON, TRUMP

The Virginia Public Access Project

VPAP's latest visualization reveals a sharp contrast in the regional breakdown of donations to the presidential campaigns of Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. Two-thirds of money Clinton raised came from Northern Virginia, while Trump raised more than half of his money downstate.