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VaNews

Friday August 16, 2019

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


HERRING CHALLENGING TRUMP ADMINISTRATION IMMIGRATION RULE

By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Attorney General Mark Herring is leading a team of 13 states challenging rules proclaimed this week by his predecessor, acting director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Ken Cuccinelli, that would allow the deportation of legal immigrants if they briefly tap legal forms of assistance, including food stamps or housing aid, for which there is no current citizenship requirement.

STATE ELECTIONS


HUGO NOW BACKS ‘RED FLAG’ GUN LAWS

By DANIEL BERTI, Prince William Times

Republican Caucus Chair Del. Tim Hugo is now backing a “red flag” gun law in the wake of back-to-back mass shootings that killed 31 people earlier this month. The bill, introduced by Del. Jason Miyares, also a Republican, would allow law enforcement to temporarily seize guns from people found to be a danger to themselves or to others.


DEMOCRATIC DELEGATE DRAWS CRITICISM FOR FUNDRAISING DURING SHOOTING

By BEN PAVIOUR, WCVE

Del. Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) drew flak on social media on Wednesday for using a shooting in Philadelphia as a fundraising push. Six police officers were shot in an 8 hour standoff with Philadelphia police officers on Wednesday. As that shooting was unfolding, Levine took to Facebook to call for campaign contributions, updating the number of affected officers as the shooting continued....“For every dollar donated today up to $10,000, I will give $2 from my campaign to a Democratic candidate who supports universal background checks and an assault weapons ban,” Levine wrote.


DEMOCRAT ANN RIDGEWAY FELT A "CALL" TO RUN FOR DELEGATE IN 30TH DISTRICT

By HILARY HOLLADAY, Orange County Review

Ann F. Ridgeway has the open, trusting face of someone used to finding the good in people. She is not a career politician and doesn’t act like one. When news broke that her opponent for state delegate, Republican incumbent Nick Freitas, had failed to file his candidacy paperwork on time and wasn’t scheduled to appear on the Nov. 5 ballot, she didn’t gloat.


TWO NATIONAL GROUPS MAKE SIX-FIGURE BIDS TO BOOST VIRGINIA DEMOCRATS IN ELECTION

By MEL LEONOR, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Two national groups on Thursday announced six-figure investments to boost Democrats’ chances of claiming majorities in Virginia’s legislative chambers — a display of the national spotlight on the state’s decisive elections. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee committed $250,000 to support Democratic challengers in seats held by Republicans

STATE GOVERNMENT


VIRGINIA CORRECTIONS OFFICERS WARN: ‘WE ARE CUTTING CORNERS’

By KERRI O'BRIEN, WRIC

Dozens of corrections officers painted a frightening picture of the inside of Virginia’s state prisons during a town hall in Emporia Thursday night. They spoke directly to Virginia’s Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland about staffing, security concerns and low pay. A counselor at a prison told the secretary that staffing is so short, sometimes there’s just one person manning a post at night. Michael Gary, a retired corrections officer said, “The only way we are honestly getting this job done right now is we are cutting corners.”


PRISONERS BESET BY BUGS AND HEAT

By SANDY HAUSMAN, WVTF

Thirty-seven years ago, Virginia opened a prison in Buckingham County – a place designed to hold 640 men, but today the population is nearly double, and without air conditioning residents say the building is like an oven. “This concrete heats up," says an inmate we'll call Dex. (He asked to remain anonymous.) "It stays hot pretty much until fall. It doesn’t cool down.”


VIRGINIA LOOKS TO NEW YORK GREEN BANK FOR POSSIBLE CLEAN ENERGY FINANCING

By ELIZABETH MCGOWAN, Energy News Network

Virginia’s energy office is exploring whether to align the state with a billion-dollar New York clean energy financing program. The New York Green Bank is one of 14 green banks nationally. The programs blend public, commercial and philanthropic money to fund projects as diverse as solar, energy efficiency, battery storage and green transportation.


VIRGINIA’S CAPITOL COMPLEX TAKES MEASURES TO TIGHTEN SECURITY

By SARA MCCLOSKEY, WRIC

Following the mass shooting at a Virginia Beach municipal building, more steps are being taken to heighten security around Virginia’s Capitol complex. ​​ At an active shooter training session organized by the Virginia Division of Capitol Police for state employees in June, many workers brought up concerns about limited security in their offices. ​​


SCC SCHEDULES HEARING OVER SURPRISE MEDICAL BILLS

By LUANNE RIFE, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The State Corporation Commission has scheduled a public hearing on a proposed regulation that would require hospitals to notify non-emergency patients if any of their caregivers are out of their insurer's network.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


LAWSUIT: NEXUS BOND SCHEME, FEEDS FEED OFF IMMIGRANTS 'LIKE A PARASITE'

By BRAD ZINN, News Leader (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

In a lawsuit labeling Nexus Services Inc. as a company “embracing immigrants only to feed off of them like a parasite,” six people from Central America are suing the Augusta County business for more than $1.5 million, according to paperwork filed in Rockingham County Circuit Court. The lawsuit, among other allegations, claims Nexus fraudulently induces immigrants to enter into long-term contracts that require them to pay exorbitant monthly fees while wearing an electronic GPS ankle monitor.

TRANSPORTATION


BATH OPPOSES I-81 GAS TAX

By MIKE BOLLINGER, Highland Recorder (Subscription required)

An increase in the gasoline tax took effect July 1 for counties on and near the Interstate 81 corridor. Tuesday, the Bath County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution opposing that tax. “We don’t have an interstate; why should our people pay a 7-cent gas tax?” supervisor Stuart Hall said.

HIGHER EDUCATION


CONSERVATIVE ACTIVIST REBUKES VIRGINIA TECH'S 'LEFTIST' FRESHMAN ORIENTATION

By SAM WALL, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A Northern Virginia political activist took to a conservative website to air her grievances regarding the “leftist propaganda” she says she witnessed at her son’s orientation at Virginia Tech. Penny Nance, CEO and president of Concerned Women for America, wrote that she can no longer ignore “the indefensible and discriminatory behavior of the liberal campus bullies ” in her opinion piece “My Son’s Freshman Orientation At Virginia Tech Was Full Of Leftist Propaganda,” published Wednesday in the The Federalist, where she is listed as a contributor.


NEW COLLEGE FOUNDATION TO STATE: $10.5 MILLION IS PRICE FOR BALDWIN BUILDING IN MARTINSVILLE

By PAUL COLLINS, Martinsville Bulletin

The ongoing bid by the Virginia Department of General Services to buy the home of the New College Institute in uptown Martinsville took a rather public twist Thursday when the New College Foundation’s board of directors issued a press release to make a counteroffer. The foundation says it will take $10.5 million for the 5.09 acres at 191 Fayette Street and the 3- story, 53-527-square-foot Baldwin Building where NCI does its business.

VIRGINIA OTHER


EMERALD ASH BORER, A DESTRUCTIVE BEETLE, CONFIRMED IN HENRICO

By BRIAN TYNES, WWBT

The destructive emerald ash borer was discovered in Richmond earlier this year and an infestation has now been confirmed in Henrico County. The beetles, which destroy ash trees, were found on traps placed near nature trails at Crump Park and Three Lakes Park, the Virginia Department of Forestry confirmed.


MOUNTAIN VALLEY PARTIALLY STOPS WORK ON PIPELINE

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

Developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline have voluntarily suspended work on parts of the embattled project, three days after a lawsuit raised questions about its impact on endangered species. In a letter Thursday to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, Mountain Valley said the suspension covers “new activities” that could pose a threat to the lives of endangered bats and fish, or potentially destroy their habitat.

LOCAL


VIRGINIA BEACH COUNCIL TO CONSIDER BANNING E-SCOOTERS OUTRIGHT FROM OCEANFRONT

By BRETT HALL AND ANDY FOX, WAVY

Riding electric scooters in the main traffic areas at the Virginia Beach Oceanfront could soon be against the law. This coming Tuesday, Virginia Beach City Council will consider banning the use of e-scooters, such as Bird and Lime, anywhere east of Arctic Avenue between Rudee Loop and 42nd Street. This comes after police, residents and business owners have raised concerns about safety at the resort.


SALEM RESIDENTS SOON MAY HAVE A NEW CHOICE FOR HIGH SPEED INTERNET, TV

By ALICIA PETSKA, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

A new service is making plans to compete for internet and cable customers in Salem. Shentel, a Virginia-based telecom firm, is gearing up to launch a new high-speed fiber optic network targeted at residential customers.


POLICE RECOVER CHUNK OF SPOTSYLVANIA COUNTY MONEY STOLEN IN PHISHING SCAM

By SCOTT SHENK, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Virginia State Police investigators have recovered more than half of the $600,000 stolen from Spotsylvania County in a phishing scheme. On Thursday afternoon, State Police Sgt. Brent Coffey said in a news release that they worked with local police as well as “state law enforcement in other states in order to track down the fraudulent deposits made into accounts at multiple banks.


FREDERICK SUPERVISORS RESCIND LGBT PROTECTIONS FOR STAFF

By JOSH JANNEY, Winchester Star (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Frederick County Board of Supervisors voted 6-1 to rescind a recent change to the county’s anti-discrimination and anti-harassment policy that protected lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) county staff from discrimination. Republican Supervisors Charles DeHaven Jr., Gary Lofton, Blaine Dunn, Bob Wells, Judith McCann-Slaughter and J. Douglas McCarthy voted to rescind the policy at Wednesday night’s board meeting. Independent Supervisor Shannon Trout was the lone vote to keep the policy in place.


MAYOR FEELING 'EXTREMELY LUCKY' AFTER LONG RECOVERY

By JOSETTE KEELOR, Northern Virginia Daily

On the mend, following a long recovery from a vehicle crash in the spring, Mayor Richard A. “Rich” Orndorff Jr. is thankful to be back at work. Tuesday he oversaw his first (Strasburg) Town Council meeting since mid-May, with support from family, friends and some other members of the community.

EDITORIALS


A CLEARER VISION NEEDED

Richmond Free Press Editorial

We are not convinced of the need or the benefits of the costly plan to replace the Richmond Coliseum and divert millions of tax dollars that ordinarily would go to the city’s general fund to pay for the project. No sooner had Mayor Levar M. Stoney released the $1.5 billion blueprint to build a new Coliseum and de- velop an area in Downtown around it with a 541-room hotel and new office buildings, stores, restaurants and 2,500 new apartments, the moneyed interests behind it — Dominion Energy CEO Thomas F. Farrell II and friends — launched an expensive lobbying effort to win public support for the undertaking.


THE ABCS OF SUCCESS

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority just completed a record-breaking year, reports The Associated Press. That means people spent more money than ever at state ABC stores — $72 million more than in 2018, to be precise. The ABC’s success appears to result from a combination of factors. Revenue rose not just because customers were buying more alcohol, but because they were buying more expensive alcohol — products that are higher in both quality and price.


PROPOSED RULE CHANGE AIDS PATIENTS

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A rule change could ease at least one health-care worry for Virginia families. The State Corporation Commission is considering an insurance regulation that ultimately would provide important up-front information for patients. The regulation would require health-care providers to warn patients in advance if a member of the medical team who would treat them happens not to be within their in-network insurance plan.


INVESTMENTS IN OUR INFRASTRUCTURE

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Aug. 5 was a new day for development in downtown Richmond. Mayor Levar Stoney unveiled striking plans for a $1.5 billion revival of the city’s urban core. Through a robust private sector contingent led by Dominion Energy CEO Thomas F. Farrell II, plans for an arena, a high-rise hotel, 2,500 apartments, and more than 1 million square feet of office space, retail and restaurants send a clear message: Live, work and play in the city.

THE FRIDAY READ


VIRGINIA TEEN RECRUITED FELLOW BOY SCOUTS TO RESTORE HISTORIC BLACK CEMETERY

By HANNAH NATANSON, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Griffin Burchard never forgot the dilapidated Virginia cemetery named after one of the most famous African Americans of the 19th century. Burchard first spotted Douglass Memorial Cemetery — named for orator and abolitionist Frederick Douglass — while on a service trip with his Boy Scout troop about three years ago. The Scouts were supposed to be removing faded wreaths from pristine rows of graves inside the well-maintained Alexandria National Cemetery. But Burchard’s eyes were drawn to the run-down plot just down the street.