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VaNews

Thursday October 18, 2018

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


ADVISORY COUNCIL ASKS NORTHAM TO STOP PIPELINE WORK, BUT GOVERNOR PASSES

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Asked by his own advisory council to suspend work on the Mountain Valley Pipeline, Gov. Ralph Northam made no such promise in a letter sent to the panel this week. The Governor’s Advisory Council on Environmental Justice recommended in August that Virginia’s water quality certification for construction of the natural gas pipeline be “rescinded immediately.” The same request was made for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline...

GENERAL ASSEMBLY


FOIA COUNCIL WANTS UNIVERSITY BOARDS TO ALLOW PUBLIC COMMENT BEFORE TUITION CHANGES

By MECHELLE HANKERSON, Virginia Mercury

Boards that govern public universities and colleges should allow students and other stakeholders to speak at meetings when the cost of attendance may change, the state’s Freedom of Information Act Advisory Council said Wednesday. But it’s not a change that needs to be codified in law, the council decided. For now, public comment at colleges’ governing board meetings will be considered a “best practice,” and institutions can choose if they want to abide by it.


DEEDS SETTLES LAWSUIT OVER HIS SON’S DEATH FOR $950,000

By LAURA VOZZELLA, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Virginia state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds has settled a wrongful-death lawsuit against a former employee of a public mental-health agency that failed to find a hospital bed for his mentally ill son, who in 2013 stabbed the senator before killing himself.

FEDERAL ELECTIONS


IN VIRGINIA HOUSE RACE, ANONYMOUS ATTACK ADS POP UP ON FACEBOOK

By KEVIN ROOSE, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A competitive race in Virginia’s 10th Congressional District has an alarming new element: anonymous attack ads on Facebook. The ads, which appeared on a Facebook page called “Wacky Wexton Not,” were purchased by a critic of Jennifer Wexton, a Democrat trying to unseat Representative Barbara Comstock, a Republican.


WEXTON OUTRAISES COMSTOCK IN 3RD QUARTER

By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Democrat Jennifer Wexton has broken the record for the most money raised in a single quarter in the 10th Congressional District.


GRIFFITH AND FLACCAVENTO FACE OFF IN BLUEFIELD

By JIM TALBERT, Richlands News-Press

Round one was raucous and there are two more to go between Republican Morgan Griffith and Democratic Challenger Anthony Flaccavento for the ninth district congressional seat. Flaccavento said the job starts with showing up and touted seeing over 6,000 people in his 98 town hall meetings. Griffith said the job is in Washington but he still meets with constituents and his office has representatives in the region every day.


LIBERTARIAN JOE WALTON GOES UP AGAINST BRAT, SPANBERGER

By RICH GRISET, Chesterfield Observer

While Congressman Dave Brat and Democratic challenger Abigail Spanberger have garnered local and national headlines for their dead heat in Virginia’s 7th Congressional District, a lesser-known contender is also making a play for the seat: Libertarian Party candidate Joe Walton.


BRAT HEARS FROM ADDICTS AT CHESTERFIELD COUNTY JAIL

By BEN PAVIOUR, WCVE

Republican Congressman Dave Brat visited Chesterfied County Jail today (10/17) to hear from incarcerated drug addicts. Many inmates told Brat, who is up for re-election next month, that they wanted more resources as well as changes to sentencing guidelines. Brat offered encouragement and said he was on board with some reform, but pushed for the inmates to find support systems, distractions, and employment.


6TH DISTRICT CANDIDATE JENNIFER LEWIS TOURS WAYNESBORO SCHOOLS

By BOB STUART, News Virginian

Sixth District Democratic congressional nominee Jennifer Lewis visited two Waynesboro schools on Wednesday in an attempt to learn more about facilities and other needs. Lewis toured both Kate Collins Middle School and Waynesboro High School with Superintendent Jeff Cassell.


EARLY VOTING IS UP ACROSS THE STATE AND LOCALLY

By ADELE UPHAUS–CONNER, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Early voting numbers for the Nov. 6 election are up more than 90 percent across the state and more than 100 percent in most jurisdictions in the Fredericksburg area. In Spotsylvania County, 684 people in the 7th U.S. House District, where Republican Dave Brat is being challenged by Abigail Spanberger in a tight race, have returned absentee ballots, the Virginia Public Access Project shows.


FORMER VP BIDEN TO JOIN WIFE JILL IN NEWPORT NEWS

By HUGH LESSIG, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Former Vice President Joe Biden plans to visit Newport News Friday, paving the way for his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, whose big day is Saturday. Joe Biden will meet with leaders of United Steelworkers Local 8888 at 3 p.m. at the union hall in downtown Newport News, according to a union media advisory.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


NEW COMMERCIAL SPACEPORT LANDS AT WALLOPS ISLAND

By TAMARA DIETRICH, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia has landed another customer for its commercial spaceport, luring California-based Rocket Lab to build its first U.S. launch complex at NASA Wallops Flight Facility. The state’s Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at Wallops was one of four finalists vying for the new launch site, beating out Cape Canaveral in Florida, the Pacific Spaceport Complex-Alaska and Vandenberg Air Force Base in California.


VIRGINIA SPACEPORT TO GROW WITH NEW LAUNCH PAD FOR CALIFORNIA COMPANY

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia just landed a big flying fish for its regional spaceport on the Eastern Shore. Rocket Lab, a Los Angeles-based aerospace company, said Wednesday that it will build its first U.S. launch pad at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport the state runs at the NASA Wallops Island Flight facility in Accomack County.

HIGHER EDUCATION


PETA PUSHES FOR VCU TO END OPIOID TESTING ON LAB MONKEYS

By EMMA NORTH, Commonwealth Times

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals posted an article Sept. 25 accusing VCU of mistreating lab monkeys and lying about where monkeys are sent after research

VIRGINIA OTHER


GERRYMANDERING RUNS DEEP IN VIRGINIA'S ROOTS, CNU PROFESSOR SAYS

By JOSH REYES, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia’s leading role in the earliest years of the nation’s history gives the state so many claims to fame that some things get overlooked. A notable example that’s a current hot topic in Virginia is gerrymandering. At a Newport News town hall event focused on redistricting Sunday, Del. Marcia “Cia” Price, D-Newport News, invited experts on the subject to explain how redistricting works, why it happens and the far-reaching impacts.


DOMINION BUYS LAND TO COMPENSATE VA. FOR PIPELINE'S IMPACT

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Access to this article limited to subscribers)

Virginia would gain a large, scenic property along the Tye River in Nelson County as part of a pending private land transfer to compensate for the planned crossing of a state wildlife management area by the Atlantic Coast Pipeline. Dominion Energy, lead developer of the $6.5 billion natural gas pipeline, confirmed this week that it has paid for an environmental organization to buy more than 1,000 acres

LOCAL


NEW CITIZENS GROUP SEEKS A VOICE IN SHAPING COUNTY’S FUTURE GROWTH

By JIM MCCONNELL, Chesterfield Observer

About 30 people came out to Clover Hill Library last Tuesday night for the inaugural meeting of a new countywide citizen advocacy group. To the founders of Chesterfield Citizens United, the number of attendees was far less important than where they came from. A wide swath of Chesterfield was represented at last week’s meeting, which served as the official kickoff of a grassroots effort to increase transparency in local government and give citizens a greater voice in shaping the county’s future growth.


WHITAKER IS A FELON, BUT WHAT HAPPENS IF PEOPLE VOTE FOR HIM ANYWAY?

By ANA LEY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Mark Whitaker can’t win another term on the City Council in next month’s election, but some hopeful supporters are voting for him anyway because they think that can help him reclaim the spot later.


NORFOLK SAYS NO TO DEVELOPER'S PLAN TO BRING A GROCERY STORE TO DOWNTOWN NORFOLK

By ELISHA SAUERS, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

In less than a month, more than 1,000 people have joined a grassroots social media movement to bring a grocery store downtown. Residents who live in the center of the city say they need a closer place to buy milk, eggs and fresh produce. Today, most hop into a car and drive to Ghent to do their food shopping – a nuisance for those who picked their apartments and townhouses for a walkable lifestyle.


EXTRA TRASH IN KING GEORGE BRINGS IN ADDITIONAL $3 MILLION

By CATHY DYSON, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

More train cars filled with trash will be headed to King George County the rest of the year, but they’ll be hauling in even more revenue than normal along with those dirty diapers and rotten vegetables. Waste Management dumps about 1,248,000 tons of trash at the King George Regional Landfill each year and pays the county $5 per ton—to the tune of $6.24 million annually.


FIRST LADY OF VIRGINIA COMMENDS LYNCHBURG EDUCATION EFFORTS

By LIZ RAMOS, News & Advance (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

First Lady of Virginia Pamela Northam spent Wednesday morning focusing on education in Lynchburg. Northam's first stop was the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance where United Way of Central Virginia and Smart Beginnings of Central Virginia announced it had received a more than $526,000 grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.


DAYTON MAYOR CANDIDATE WITHDRAWS AMID VSP PROBE

By PETE DELEA, Daily News Record (Subscription Required)

Former Town Manager John Crim withdrew from the Dayton mayoral race amid a Virginia State Police investigation.


FLEENOR RECORDING REVEALS BUYOUT OFFERS, DIVIDE IN BRISTOL VIRGINIA CITY COUNCIL

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Bristol Virginia leaders want to know whether former City Councilman Doug Fleenor committed any crime when he appeared to offer to sell his council seat to Vice Mayor Kevin Wingard during an August telephone conversation. City Manager Randy Eads said Tuesday that he presented information about the phone call to both the city commonwealth’s attorney’s office and the U.S. attorney’s office but hasn’t heard back from either.

EDITORIALS


LEARNING FROM COST OF STORM SHELTERS

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Virginia officials in the Northam administration acted with justifiable concern and caution when Hurricane Florence took aim at the commonwealth last month. Gov. Ralph Northam ordered an evacuation of low-lying coastal areas prone to flooding, activating Virginia’s “Know Your Zone” protocol for the first time. And emergency officials opened two shelters in Hampton Roads to accommodate those who left their homes


GOVERNMENT OPENNESS BENEFITS EVERYONE

News & Advance Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

All too often, the first inclination of government, at any level and in any capacity, is to opt for working behind closed doors. After all, some folks contend, it’s messy and inconvenient when the public wants to be involved and the news media wants access. That’s just the nature of the beast.

COLUMNISTS


CASEY: ABSENTEE VOTING'S UP IN VIRGINA; WILL THE NUMBER OF LATE, UNCOUNTED BALLOTS RISE, TOO?

By DAN CASEY, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

According to a report issued this week by the nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project, "absentee in person" voting is occurring at a pace nearly double that of the 2017 elections. This year, "absentee in person" voting is up in all but seven of Virginia's 133 voting jurisdictions.


FACT CHECKER: VIRGINIA CONGRESSMAN MISREPRESENTS WASHINGTON POST FACT CHECK IN DEBATE

By GLENN KESSLER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The Fact Checker is used to politicians weaponizing our fact checks, especially when we award Four Pinocchios to their opponents. But we have never seen a politician falsely claim that we gave his opponent Four Pinocchios. Brat especially had no excuse, because we objected to a tweet and a news release issued by his campaign many hours before his debate.

OP-ED


WHITESCARVER: ATLANTIC COAST PIPELINE SET TO DESTROY RARE BATH COUNTY OLD-GROWTH FOREST

By ROBERT WHITESCARVER, Published in the News Leader (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

At least 300 trees, older than this nation, will be destroyed if the Atlantic Coast Pipeline comes through this ridge on our property,” Bill Limpert lamented. We were walking his part of Jack Mountain in Bath County.

Robert Whitescarver, soil conservationist, writer and educator.


LEUBSDORF: VIRGINIA DEMOCRAT MAY OFFER CLUE TO PARTY’S CHANCES NATIONWIDE

By CARL P. LEUBSDORF, Published in the Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

In its drive to regain the U.S. House, the national Democratic Party has taken a major page from the playbook Virginia Democrats used for their 2017 successes: women candidates. Of the 15 House of Delegates seats Virginia Democrats gained last year, women won 11. So it’s unsurprising that, according to the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, 36 of the Democratic nominees for the 69 most competitive House districts next month are female.

Carl P. Leubsdorf is the former Washington bureau chief of the Dallas Morning News


PORTER: COAL STILL HAS A BIG ROLE IN PRODUCING ELECTRICITY

By J. WINSTON PORTER, Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

An argument increasingly heard these days is that coal, largely because it is carbon-rich, should be decreased compared to most other energy resources. However, coal still plays an important role in Virginia since coal and natural gas each supply 27 percent of the state’s electricity, while nuclear power accounts for 39 percent of Virginia power.

J. Winston Porter is a national energy and environmental consultant, based in Atlanta