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May 16, 2022
Top of the News

The mystery of the secret Virginia air board document

By PATRICK WILSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

State officials are refusing to release a document that purportedly undercuts Gov. Glenn Youngkin's desire to remove Virginia from a greenhouse gas reduction program. Youngkin wants the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board to consider an emergency regulation that would remove Virginia from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a multi-state program in which energy producers charge their customers to cover the costs of reducing pollution.

What’s ‘reasonable and prudent’ when it comes to Dominion offshore wind project’s costs?

By SARAH VOGELSONG, Virginia Mercury

Dominion Energy is seeking approval to build what will be the largest offshore wind power project in the United States off the coast of Virginia Beach, pitched by the company, some lawmakers and business groups as key to positioning Virginia as a hub for an industry on the cusp of a boom. But with hearings beginning this week before state utility regulators, the attorney general’s office, as well as some environmental and consumer protection groups, are wary of giving Virginia’s largest utility a blank check to recover cost overruns from ratepayers for what’s estimated to be a nearly $10 billion project.

Virginia poised to review eligibility of 2 million in Medicaid 'safe haven'

By MICHAEL MARTZ, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

It's just a question of when, but Virginia is poised to begin an exhaustive 12-month review of more than 2 million people in its Medicaid program for the elderly, disabled and low-income families. The federal-state program, supercharged by Virginia's expansion of eligibility in 2019 under the Affordable Care Act, has added more than a half-million people since the COVID-19 pandemic began, relying on more than $1 billion in additional federal funding to provide health care for people who can't afford to pay for it.

Looking For Baby Formula Has Basically Become A Part-Time Job For Many Local Parents


Three weeks after her daughter was born, Lena Nguyen could no longer find the formula that worked best for the baby in any local stores. Her family was on their last can and starting to panic. “My daily activity was to get up, have my husband watch the baby, and just drive around. I would stop by every CVS, every Target, every Safeway, you name it, every store possible to try to find something. And I was not having any luck,” says Nguyen. ... During the first week in May, the out-of-stock rate for baby formula at retailers in D.C. was 50%, close to 47% in Maryland and nearly 49% in Virginia, according to data from the firm Datasembly.

Sex trafficking survivor: ‘Someone’s finally saying it’s not your fault’

By STEPHEN FALESKI, Smithfield Times (Paywall)

Monica Charleston’s earliest memory of sex, at age 9, came from molestation at the hands of family members while she was living with her grandmother in Philadelphia. By age 15, she’d met the man who would coerce her into nearly nine years of commercial sex work — leaving Charleston with a lengthy criminal record that’s taken her decades to expunge. . . . It’s been just over a year since former Gov. Ralph Northam signed House Bill 2234, dubbed “Monica’s Law” by Smithfield High School students who worked alongside Del. Emily Brewer, R-Isle of Wight, to lobby for a change to how sex trafficking victims are treated under Virginia’s criminal justice system.

'Smart poles' among several products being evaluated at Stafford-based testbed

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

When the Virginia Smart Community Testbed opened its doors almost a year ago in Stafford County, former Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Brian Ball called it an asset to the entire state. “What we want from this testbed, what our goals will be: that every community can participate, come to this to exchange ideas, explore new technologies and work together to face, address and resolve the common challenges we all face,” Ball said. Located at 2143 Richmond Highway, the testbed was created as a site for entrepreneurs to test emerging technologies in public safety, data security, 5G technology, broadband expansion and more

Why the Head of the Antiabortion March for Life Will Keep Marching

By DAVID MONTGOMERY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The future of the antiabortion movement was on display in the crowd of about 1,000 that gathered for the Virginia March for Life outside the Capitol in Richmond. It was a Wednesday morning in late April, five days before the stunning leak of a draft decision that would signal that the Supreme Court was actively considering overturning Roe v. Wade. Yet the marchers intuited that a dramatic pivot in their nearly 50-year struggle was at hand. They carried signs that said, “The Future Is Anti-Abortion.”

The Full Report
43 articles, 16 publications


From VPAP Maps, Timeline of COVID-19 in Virginia

The Virginia Public Access Project

Our COVID-19 dashboard makes it easy to track Virginia Department of Health data across the state -- or within your community. There are charts showing trends for vaccinations, infections, hospitalizations and deaths. You'll also find a map showing the two-week infection trend in each health district. Updated each morning around 10:30 a.m.


Youngkin to Virginia Tech grads: 'Where does your compass point?'

By LUKE WEIR, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Attuned moral compasses and guidance from mentors are essential tools for new college graduates seeking to lead lives of significance, said Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Friday during a commencement address to the Virginia Tech graduating Class of 2022. To a crowd of 5,550 berobed seniors and about 20,000 of their supporting family and friends packed into a drizzly Lane Stadium, Youngkin said there are moments in life when decisions must be made between colliding interests. “The answer will not be clear. Then you have to ask yourself, what is most important? Where does my compass point?” Youngkin said.

AG Miyares listens to local law enforcement officials

By JOAQUIN MANCERA, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares met with local law enforcement behind closed doors Friday at the Higher Education Center to hear from about issues they are currently encountering in Southwest Virginia. After the meeting, Miyares said he believes in servant leadership, which begins with listening. "A lot of it was just being in the room and talking with folks from different prosecutors, sheriffs, and police officers about what they're seeing, what they're hearing, and what their challenges are," Miyares said.


Rail Trail Supporters Await Funding Approval

By KELLEN STEPLER, Daily News Record (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Supporters of the proposed Shenandoah Valley Rail Trail, a 48.5-mile unused Norfolk Southern corridor recreational trail, are patiently awaiting approval of the state budget from the Virginia General Assembly. The proposed budget earmarks $245 million for outdoor recreation across the commonwealth. While no exact amount for the Shenandoah Rail Trail is allotted yet, a portion of the money is planned for the local trail, the Eastern Shore Trail and the Fall Line Trail in the Richmond area.


Criminal justice reform law blamed for rise in serious offenders being released with low or no bond

By MARK BOWES, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Within a recent 60-day period in Chesterfield County, 48 people charged with assaulting a family member were released by a county magistrate without having to post a bond. So were six people accused of assaulting a police officer, five defendants charged with malicious wounding, two people accused of abduction and another charged with robbery. There's more.


Roanoke, New River Valley receive federal housing funds

By SAM WALL, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Roanoke and multiple New River Valley localities will receive a portion of nearly $115 million in federal funding to increase affordable housing, according to a release from Sen. Tim Kaine’s office. Funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development was awarded to area communities through the Community Development Block Grant, HOME Investment Partnership and the Emergency Solutions Grant. ... Through the CDBG, Blacksburg was awarded $534,673, Christiansburg $125,664, Radford $183,174 and Roanoke $1.82 million.

Sen. Mark Warner tours new Glen Allen prayer center


Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) toured the new Jamatkhana, which is a prayer space for the growing Islamic community, in Henrico County on Saturday morning. Warner started out meeting with key Islamic Central Virginia and state leaders before sitting down for a roundtable to learn more about the group's needs and how they continue to help Afghan refugees.


Boeing’s move to Arlington pushes ‘tech hub’ vision closer to reality

By TEO ARMUS, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

When Amazon announced it would be bringing its second headquarters to Arlington, local officials wasted no time pitching it as a chance to build something much bigger: This corner of Northern Virginia, they said, could transform into a dense, urban technology hub — a kind of eastern outpost for Silicon Valley. More than three years later, that vision seems like it’s no longer just an idea.

Food maker to expand, bring 100 jobs to Warren County

By ALEX BRIDGES, Northern Virginia Daily

A food manufacturer plans to set up operations in Warren County by the end of the year. The Front Royal-Warren County Economic Development Authority Board of Directors voted at a special meeting on Friday to approve the sale of property at 426 Baugh Drive to Shahi Foods for $5.7 million, Chairman Jeff Browne said by phone Friday afternoon.

Smyth, Bland and Washington counties collaborating on industrial park

By JOAN TUPPONCE, Virginia Business

In the coming months, the rubble of a demolished furniture factory on a roughly 70-acre property in Chilhowie will be hauled away to make room for an industrial park. Smyth County is teaming up with Bland and Washington counties, forming the Pathway Regional Industrial Facilities Authority to create Pathway Park, which will feature rail service and access to Interstate 81. “Successful economic development and job creation is not confined by borders,” Bland County Administrator Eric Workman says of the tri-county collaboration.


22.5 miles of toll lanes on I-66 outside the Beltway set to open by end of year


VDOT says a massive 22.5 mile project to add toll lanes to I-66 outside the Beltway is on schedule to open before the end of this year. Although VDOT has not given an exact date yet, spokesperson Michelle Holland tells 7 News that as long as the weather does not cause major construction delays, the new express lanes should open some time in December at the latest. Construction on the lanes has now been going on more than four years.


VCU will raise tuition 3% next fall, despite pleas from students and governor

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

The board of visitors at Virginia Commonwealth University voted unanimously Friday to increase the cost of tuition 3% next fall, hoping to minimize job cuts and not water down the value of education. Their decision came despite requests by hundreds of students who wrote messages asking the university to keep costs flat. One student said she works three jobs and struggles to eat more than one meal per day. And it comes despite Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s request this week that colleges not raise prices.

Wilder accuses VCU provost of racism for not firing employee

By ERIC KOLENICH, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

A Virginia Commonwealth University employee who called Republicans “Nazis” and criticized former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder remains on the university’s payroll because of racism in the university’s administration, Wilder said Friday. In a sweeping allegation at the university's board of visitors meeting, Wilder, 91, stood behind a microphone and made public three months’ worth of employee quarrels.

ODU assistant professor who resigned amid backlash from pedophilia research has a new job at Johns Hopkins

By JESSICA NOLTE, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

An assistant professor of sociology and criminal justice whose pedophilia research created a stir at Old Dominion University landed a new job with Johns Hopkins University’s Moore Center for Prevention of Child Sexual Abuse. Allyn Walker stepped down from ODU in November after their use of “minor-attracted person” instead of the word pedophile in research led to an outcry on campus and social media. Walker’s contract with ODU ended this month.


The D.C. region’s new covid normal: infections up, masks optional

By REBECCA TAN AND JENNA PORTNOY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Photos of rapid test results on social media. Harried texts from friends and family. Missed calls from contact tracers. Signs are everywhere that coronavirus infections in D.C., Maryland and Virginia are on the rise again, with new daily cases this week at least quadruple what they were in late March. But unlike in previous waves, most local and state governments are steering clear of introducing new regulations to stem the spread of the virus, sticking instead to recommendations for people to mask up and get vaccinated.

After Portsmouth school moves to virtual learning, uncertainty remains around future COVID surge

By KELSEY KENDALL, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

As the number of COVID-19 cases creeps back up, Hampton Roads schools could end the year with the same uncertainty they had at the beginning. Churchland High School students were sent home for the remainder of this week after the school day Wednesday due to a spike in COVID cases among staff members, a decision seen much more often during the waves of illnesses fueled by the delta and omicron variants of the virus.


Thousands rally in Monroe Park in support of abortion access

By MADYSON FITZGERALD, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Thousands of protesters gathered in Monroe Park in Richmond in support of abortion access after a leaked draft of a majority opinion indicated the U.S. Supreme Court could overturn Roe v. Wade. The Bans Off Our Bodies protest, which took place in several cities across the country on Saturday, was part of a national day of action in support of reproductive rights. Protesters, donned in pink clothing and carrying signs, rallied in the park in solidarity.

Hundreds, fearing the overturn of Roe v. Wade, march in Hampton Roads

By IAN MUNRO AND SIAN WILKERSON, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

The Virginia Beach mother’s voice shook with emotion as she held the speakerphone. The crowd of roughly 400 people outside the Virginia Beach courthouse shouted and cheered for Joyce Worthey as she shared the story of her difficult decision to get an abortion over three decades ago. “It was the right thing for me and as my life has turned out, it has continued to be the right thing for me,” Worthey, 53, said after her speech. She was one of hundreds who gathered Saturday across Hampton Roads to show support for abortion rights amid the threat of a landmark Supreme Court ruling being overturned.

Charlottesville protest for abortion access among hundreds nationally

By ALLISON WRABEL, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Hundreds from the Charlottesville area marched down the Downtown Mall on Saturday morning as part of rallies and protest marches held nationwide in support of abortion access and reproductive freedom. A Supreme Court decision draft leaked to and published by Politico earlier this month would overturn Roe v. Wade, the historic court decision that legalized the medical procedure.

'Bans Off Our Bodies' rallies through rain in Roanoke

By LUKE WEIR, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

“Bans off our Bodies” was the rallying cry for hundreds of soaked demonstrators at an abortion rights rally in downtown Roanoke, and during related protests nationwide on Saturday. Upwards of 200 people gathered at noon Saturday outside the Poff Federal Building on Franklin Road, chanting slogans and hoisting signage in support of abortion rights. Similar “Bans Off Our Bodies” events occurred Saturday in towns and cities nationwide, from Washington, D.C., to California.

Health Wagon breaks ground on a new dental facility

By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 15 articles a month)

Of the thousands of people who have come to one of the Wise County Remote Area Medical and dental clinics during the past 20 years, Dr. Teresa Tyson recalled the anguish of one brave little boy whose decayed teeth caused so much distress, he just wanted them pulled. “He told the dentist, ‘even if I cry, don’t stop because they hurt so bad,’” Tyson said Friday during a groundbreaking ceremony for the Health Wagon’s new state-of-the-art dental facility.


In reversal, Fairfax to offer teachers raises for Idaho grad classes

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

Fairfax County Public Schools will award salary increases to teachers who took a graduate-level course on pandemic-era teaching with Idaho State University, after officials temporarily denied the raises. Teachers in the school district of roughly 180,000 students had enrolled this semester in one of two “Covid-19 Professional Development Courses” offered by Idaho State University’s College of Education. The two courses were called “The ABC’s of a Covid Classroom” and “Modifying K-12 Education.”

Northern Virginia Officials Approve Local Budgets, Despite State Budget Impasse In Richmond


Local budget season is over. Sort of. Northern Virginia localities and school systems have mostly approved their fiscal year 2023 budgets, which will kick in this summer. But a state budget impasse in Richmond, where lawmakers are trying to reconcile a multi-billion dollar gap in proposals from the Democrat-controlled Senate and the Republican-controlled House of Delegates, makes the future of some local line items uncertain. “I don’t know when we went from being a well-managed state to being one that can’t pass a budget,” says Jeff McKay, the chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, and a Democrat.

How a police department attracts new recruits when every agency is hiring: ‘Be the change I want to see’

By CAITLYN BURCHETT, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Miya Mitchell-Bray decided during the groundswell social justice movement of 2020 that it was time to be the change she wanted in her community. Donning a Chesapeake Police Department uniform and badge, Mitchell-Bray recently completed her first year patrolling the streets of the city she calls home.

Norfolk City Council grills housing authority over subsidiary’s out-of-state projects

By DANIEL BERTI, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Norfolk City Council members clashed with the city’s housing authority last week over the authority’s little-known for-profit entity that has financed dozens of projects in low-income communities across the country but none in Norfolk in more than a decade. Council members requested the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority publicly answer questions about the company, Hampton Roads Ventures, following recent reporting by The Virginia Mercury, a nonprofit online news organization.

Forced out: Closure of Newport News airport’s mobile home park throws residents’ lives into turmoil

By PETER DUJARDIN, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 1 article a month)

Jenny Rolon bought a run-down mobile home at Newport News/Williamsburg International Airport four years ago, quickly turning it into a nice place. She paid $5,000 for the trailer, but says she dished out another $25,000 on renovations over the years — a new kitchen and bathroom; all new floors, windows and lighting; and lots of bright white paint. “It’s not my trailer,” Rolon said. “It’s my home.” After moving from Puerto Rico in 2018, the 51-year-old is among the many residents who planned to stay for years at the Patrick Henry Mobile Home Park.

Fredericksburg joins Drive Clean Rural USA project

By TAFT COGHILL, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Fredericksburg has entered into an eight-state pilot project designed to help local governments and institutions save money by transitioning vehicle fleets to U.S. clean fuels and advanced vehicle technologies. Fredericksburg is the latest jurisdiction to announce its participation in the Drive Clean Rural USA project. The program is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Fredericksburg is now one of 24 localities across the nation participating.

Fredericksburg, King George create economic partnership

By TAFT COGHILL JR., Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The Fredericksburg City Council and the King George County Board of Supervisors each have adopted an ordinance to create the Rappahannock Regional Industrial Facilities Authority. The RIFA agreement could lead to the two localities partnering on economic development projects and facilities. Other localities in the area could come aboard at a later date.

Charlottesvillle to install temporary signs marking graves of enslaved at Pen Park

By GINNY BIXBY, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

Whistling is fine, but it would be greatly appreciated if people did not walk on, roll over or play through their graves. Charlottesville is looking at ways to ensure visitors to Pen Park and golfers at the Meadowcreek Golf Course don’t disrupt the unmarked graves of unidentified people, people who until recently were lost to history. The city’s Historic Resources Committee decided Friday to install temporary signs at the site where the city and Albemarle Charlottesville Historical Society believe there are at least 43 and as many as 50 unmarked graves of enslaved laborers.

‘Pray for Peace’ shirts still in play

By YANN RANAIVO, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Blacksburg High School girls lacrosse players did what they saw as their part in calling for an end to the war in Ukraine when they wore “Pray for Peace” T-shirts during warmups earlier in the spring. But to the surprise of some in the community and even some Montgomery County School Board members, the players were barred from wearing the shirts again — even if the word pray had been replaced with play — due to a district policy on political displays in the schools.

Lawsuit alleging harassment by former Rocky Mount police chief settled

By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

A former Rocky Mount police officer who claimed he was forced to resign after supporting two female employees who said they were harassed by the police chief has settled his lawsuit against the town. Justin Smith filed a motion in Roanoke’s federal court this week asking that his case be dismissed, at the agreement of both parties.



Free clinics help, but country needs comprehensive care

Daily Progress Editorial (Metered Paywall - 25 articles a month)

As she wound down a successful career as a professor at the Medical University of South Carolina and a researcher at the National Science Foundation, Pam Morris wanted “something with purpose, something challenging.” She got her wish when she became executive director of the Greene Care Clinic two and a half years ago. Morris manages one of two free clinics in a region that covers the counties of Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson, along with the city of Charlottesville. The other is the Charlottesville Free Clinic. Morris’ office is a folding table and chair stuffed into a store room packed with medical supplies and a water heater.

Regional flooding needs cash flow

Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Hampton Roads residents this week endured yet another reminder of the region’s sopping wet future as a storm that settled off the North Carolina coast brought high water, including days of tidal flooding, and heavy seas to our communities. For most residents, moving cars from low-lying areas, protecting homes and property, and navigating the floodwaters was commonplace — simply part of life in coastal Virginia. For those new to the area, however, the sight of so much flooding under clear blue skies must have been a shock.

Outer Banks home collapses are a major wake-up call for Va.

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Coastal residents in Virginia and North Carolina recently woke up to a series of warnings. On May 7, the National Weather Service’s forecast office in Wakefield said a “significant coastal storm” was coming, with a chance of “moderate to major tidal flooding, high winds along the coast, and high seas/rough surf.” The Virginia Department of Emergency Management sent out its own memo later in the day, urging people to check before leaving their homes, and to never drive in high water or along flooded roadways.

Excitement can't justify skimping on due diligence

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

We still have high hopes that Patrick County’s hospital will once again open its doors to patients, and save those experiencing a medical crisis from a potentially life-threatening 30- to 45-minute ambulance ride to a medical facility outside the county’s borders. Beyond the detrimental health consequences to this beautiful rural community, there are economic challenges that have been eloquently expressed by county representatives: how do you get business prospects to give your locality serious consideration if you don’t even have an emergency medical center?

New broadband programs shine necessary light on costs

Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

When policymakers work to close the digital divide, access often is the first factor on their minds. In 2020, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s Econ Focus magazine discussed how internet availability gaps largely were due to geography. The number of U.S. adults online rose from roughly 50% in 2000 to 90% in 2020. But Federal Communications Commission data showed only 78% of rural Americans had access to “fast wired home internet,” versus 98.5% of urban dwellers.


Yancey: Could Bristol and Lynchburg get inland ports?

By DWAYNE YANCEY, Cardinal News

We’re all waiting on a state budget. The headline item – and the big holdup – is whether the state will eliminate all or just part of the tax on food. It’s hard to agree on a budget when you can’t even agree on how much money you have to spend. Further down in at least one of the two rival budgets under consideration is funding for some potentially transformative projects in this part of the state . . . Today let’s zero in on one of those items that isn’t nearly so expensive, and hasn’t gotten nearly as much attention: $200,000 to study whether the state should build “inland ports” in either Bristol or Lynchburg.


Dugan and Aber: Authorities need public’s help to fight corruption

By BRIAN C. DUGAN AND JESSICA D. ABER, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Seven years ago, the Norfolk FBI office launched a free, confidential public corruption tip line, 1-844-FIGHT PC, to encourage citizens to report suspected corruption and provide an easy way to share their concerns. Corrupt acts are acts done with the intent to provide an advantage inconsistent with official duty and the rights of others. Public corruption, specifically, involves a breach of public trust or the abuse of a position by federal, state or local officials and their private-sector accomplices.

Dugan is special agent in charge of the FBI’s Norfolk Field Office. Aber is the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

DuBois: The future I see for Virginia's Community Colleges

By GLENN DUBOIS, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

Virginia’s Community Colleges have awarded more than 665,000 life-changing credentials during my time as chancellor. Their impact is everywhere: the historically low unemployment rate recently trumpeted by the Youngkin administration; national media reports describing VCCS workforce development training as a “premier model”; and yet another accolade declaring Virginia’s business climate America’s best.

DuBois is retiring this summer after spending more than 21 years as chancellor of Virginia’s Community Colleges.

Klutts: As weather warms, water safety deserves emphasis

By ADAM KLUTTS, published in Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 2 articles a month)

Temperatures are rising, and pools will open soon to enthusiastic water bugs of all ages. Starting my YMCA career as a lifeguard more than 25 years ago, I know firsthand the importance of keeping kids safe around the water. As I watched thousands of children learn swimming skills that will last a lifetime, I also witnessed the self-esteem and confidence coupled with smiles as they gained a sense of accomplishment.

Klutts is the president and CEO of the YMCA of the Virginia Peninsulas.

McMahon: New life for small cities

By ED MCMAHON, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

When Amazon announced it was locating its East Coast headquarters in Arlington, it cemented Northern Virginia’s reputation as the state’s economic powerhouse. But there is another less well-known story of economic revitalization playing out across the commonwealth. Despite the pressures of a global pandemic, rising inflation and economic dislocations, local civic and elected leaders are breathing new life into smaller communities — from Cape Charles to Culpeper and from Southern Virginia to the Shenandoah Valley.

McMahon is chairman emeritus of Main Street America and a senior fellow at the Urban Land Institute in Washington.

Abbott: Leading the way to help children with hearing loss

By VALERIE JAMES ABBOTT, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

In February 2022, the Virginia General Assembly did something no other state has done before. Through a joint resolution — sponsored by state Sens. Jennifer Boysko, D-Fairfax, and Tommy Norment, R-James City; and Del. Betsy Carr, D-Richmond — May 4-10 was established as Late Onset Hearing Loss Awareness Week. The campaign calls attention to children who become deaf and hard of hearing after birth.

Abbott is co-founder of the national Late Onset Hearing Loss Awareness Campaign.

Wittman: We must unleash American energy independence

By ROB WITTMAN, published in Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 7 articles a month)

One consistent message I hear from constituents throughout Virginia’s 1st Congressional District and folks throughout the entire commonwealth is American families are feeling the pain of soaring inflation and skyrocketing energy costs in a very real way. This year, average gas prices in America hit an all-time high, and the national average continues to sit above $4 per gallon. With no clear end in sight, it is completely understandable that families worry about how to budget for these soaring prices.

Wittman, a Republican, represents Virginia’s 1st District in the U.S. House of Representatives.