Friday November 27, 2015
Compiled by Bernadette Kinlaw
By KARIN KAPSIDELIS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
If there’s one message that Jesse Vaughan hopes his new documentary on the heroin epidemic will drive home, it’s this: “Young people are dying every day,” the Emmy-winning filmmaker at Virginia State University said.
By STAFF REPORT, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Thomas Moss Jr., former speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates and former Norfolk city treasurer, has died. He was 87. Norfolk Mayor Paul Fraim confirmed his death Thursday night.
By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Earlier this month, without comment or explanation, the Virginia Supreme Court declined to adopt changes recommended by a committee of judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers and others after an 11-month study of pretrial disclosure rules in criminal cases. The proposals by the Special Committee on Criminal Discovery Rules were aimed at improving pretrial discovery to help make sure pleas are knowingly entered, that trial preparation is not a matter of guesswork and to prevent “trial by ambush” while protecting the privacy and safety of victims and witnesses.
By TOM JACKMAN, Washington Post
While the trend in much of the United States is moving toward decriminalization or legalization of marijuana, Virginia is heading in the opposite direction: With sharply rising arrest totals for the possession of pot and a disproportionate number of black people arrested in the Commonwealth, according to a new study based on state data reported to the FBI.
By ALEX ROHR, News & Advance
Virginia’s U.S. senators and at least one area congressman say Congress needs to vote on how to respond to the terrorist group carving out territory in Iraq and Syria and expanding its threat elsewhere. After updating Lynchburg businesspeople on his stances toward world and Washington affairs and talking business innovation Friday, Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Congress should vote to address the threat posed by the Islamic State group, also called ISIS, ISIL and Daesh.
By JILL PALERMO, Stafford County Sun
News that the Interstate 95 Express Lanes would be extended two miles in an effort to ease traffic congestion in the Garrisonville Road area received mixed reviews from Stafford County officials this week. Del. William Howell, R-28th, called the announcement “good news for Stafford County and the thousands of Stafford area residents who commute north every day.” But newly elected Del. Mark Dudenhefer, R-2nd, and Stafford Supervisor Paul Milde III, R-Aquia, say they’re less than impressed.
By DIANA OBEROI, Daily Progress
Trees are dying in Shenandoah National Park. They’re not rotting away, they’re not being chopped down. They’re being eaten. Now park officials are unleashing a different type of creature to beat back the hungry insects. Over the last 20 years, park officials have worked to save their eastern hemlock trees from one specific creature, known as the hemlock woolly adelgid. The HWA is an insect originally discovered in the park in 1988 and has killed thousands of hemlocks in the area.
By JOHN R. CRANE, Danville Register & Bee
Pittsylvania County should consider establishing a countywide fire and rescue chief and consolidating its smaller fire departments, according to a report from the Virginia Fire Services Board released late last week....Pittsylvania County’s fire and EMS system includes 21 volunteer fire departments in a nearly 1,000-square-mile county. Of those departments, nine provide ambulances while the remaining 12 give first-responder service. There are four stand-alone volunteer rescue squads.
Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
THE COMMONWEALTH, the Navy and many Virginia Beach business leaders believe extending light rail to Town Center is key to developing a regional transit system to reach the military bases, the Oceanfront, Old Dominion University and Princess Anne Commons. They know that the proposed 3.1-mile extension from Newtown Road to Constitution Drive is unlikely to relieve much traffic between Norfolk and the Beach’s central business district. “In the early stages,” Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne said Tuesday, “it’s not going to significantly reduce congestion.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
To hear the state’s hospitals tell the tale, they’re about half a paycheck away from the poorhouse. As one local TV segment began, “The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association says things are getting worse for the state’s hospitals from a financial standpoint. And if something isn’t done soon, we could see hospitals closing, cuts in services, and thousands of job losses.” The numbers tell a different story.
By MICHAEL PAUL WILLIAMS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
The first order of business Tuesday for the Hanover County Board of Supervisors was government overreach. “This is normally where we present our invocation,” announced board chairman Wayne Hazzard. “Tonight we’re going to do something a little different, and I ask the board to indulge me.”
By STEVE DUNHAM, Published in the Free Lance-Star
Getting to the Washington area on a weekend shouldn’t be so hard. Residents of the Fredericksburg area have a few choices, none of them ideal: Drive (if they can), take Greyhound or take Amtrak. I’ve done all three. Weekend traffic on Interstate 95 has gotten so heavy that the trip to or from Washington can take hours.
Steve Dunham is chairman of the Virginia Association of Railway Patrons, a volunteer nonprofit group.
By GORDON MORSE, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Some encouraging economic news emerged from the annual state Senate Finance Committee retreat, held last week in Portsmouth. But there are some serious asterisks in the details, particularly when it comes to Hampton Roads. Concurrently, a tussle over leadership in the Republican Senate caucus got settled, the background of which warrants some explanation.
By ROXANE GATLING GILMORE, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Since leaving the Executive Mansion I have commented privately on changes only when asked. Though disappointed that historically inappropriate changes have been made and items such as the handmade tester bed treatments for the Lafayette Bedroom destroyed, I have kept silent. I am speaking out now because many concerned citizens have asked me to comment on a proposal to build a ramp in the front yard of the mansion that they believe will destroy the front view of the house, a National Historic Landmark.
Roxane Gatling Gilmore was Virginia’s first lady during the Gilmore administration (1998-2002) and chair of the Executive Committee for the Renovation of the Executive Mansion (1998-2000).
By GERALD F. O'NEILL, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 20 articles a month)
Gov. Terry McAuliffe recently announced plans to build a ramp to improve access to the Executive Mansion for individuals with disabilities. While such a plan seems innocuous enough, it has come under fire from some who are concerned about the historic context of the building and the possibility that the proposed ramp would somehow threaten the historic character of the 200-year-old mansion.
Gerald F. O’Neill is president of the Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living and executive director of Resources for Independent Living, a Richmond nonprofit that assists people with disabilities.
The Friday Read
By PERRY STEIN, Washington Post
At a tense D.C. meeting over a proposed bike lane last month, one cycling advocate seemingly tried to add legitimacy to her argument by declaring that she had lived in the city for eight years. Bike lane opponents — mainly congregants of a prominent D.C. African American church that fears that a bike lane would remove parking spaces — scoffed at the suggestion that eight years qualified as a long time.