Friday March 23, 2018
By JORDAN PASCALE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Gov. Ralph Northam hopes lawmakers can pass a budget – with Medicaid expansion – in seven days when they reconvene for a special session April 11. Senate Republicans are highly doubtful. Northam reintroduced his proposal Wednesday, the first step in restarting the process after legislators went home March 10 without passing a budget because they couldn’t agree on Medicaid expansion.
By JONATHAN HUNLEY, Prince William Times
Prince William County Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey Stewart, a candidate for the Republican nomination for U.S. Senate, says he’s not fazed by his straw-poll defeats over the weekend, calling them "rackets" to sell event tickets.
By RUTHANN CARR, Fluvanna Review
Shouts and applause from more than 100 people filled Cunningham Creek Winery when Sen. Tim Kaine walked in Saturday (March 17). Kaine said he was honored to come at the behest of Fluvanna Democrats, the Lefty Lunch Ladies and Forward Fluvanna.
By ONOFRIO CASTIGLIA, Winchester Star (Subscription Required)
The recently affirmed defeat of a Republican in a district President Donald Trump won by more than 20 percentage points in 2016 has some people writing off Rep. Barbara Comstock, R-10th, as a goner. “Look at Conor Lamb’s victory in [Pennsylvania’s 18th District] and read the tea leaves,” one 10th District resident said in response to a tweet Comstock posted last week.
By STAFF REPORT, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
The Fredericksburg region's two Republican congressmen split on a $1.3 trillion federal spending bill approved by the House of Representatives this week, with 1st District Rep. Rob Wittman voting for it and 7th District Rep. Dave Brat voting against it.
By MICHAEL NEIBAUER , Washington Business Journal
A major branch of U.S. Customs and Border Protection will consolidate in Loudoun County, bringing roughly 3,700 employees to an office park not far from the Ashburn Metro station. The agency’s Office of Information Technology will occupy 445,000 square feet at American Square at Quantum Park, once home to MCI/WorldCom.
By STAFF REPORT, Washington Business Journal
Loudoun County officials announced Thursday they are finalizing an agreement with the U.S. Customs and Border Protection Agency's (CBP) Office of Information Technology (OIT) to bring its headquarters to Quantam Park at 22001 Loudoun County Parkway in Ashburn, near the Ashburn Silver Line Metro station. The 15-year lease will consolidate CBP's Northern Virginia OIT offices and over 3,700 CBP positions will move to Loudoun, including engineers, technicians, scientists and support personnel, according to the county.
By LAURENCE HAMMACK, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
State environmental regulators have cited Appalachian Power Co. for releases of industrial waste from its Clinch River plant. Treated wastewater with levels of iron, copper and chlorides that exceeded the utility’s permit was released into the Clinch River between July 2016 and October 2017, according to an enforcement action taken by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality.
Dominion Energy is seeking a rate increase to pay for burying power lines. The state’s largest electric utility filed an application with state regulators Monday to approve part of a larger undergrounding project.
By TARA BOZICK, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Liebherr-International AG plans to invest $45 million to grow its facilities in Copeland Industrial Park to more than 800,000 square feet in Newport News with the addition of another headquarters and additional manufacturing, the company said Thursday.
By DAVID MCGEE, Bristol Herald Courier (Metered Paywall - 12 articles a month)
The Sunset-OptiNet transaction is now expected to close in May, the BVU Authority board was told Thursday. Officials from Sunset Digital Communications outlined steps they’re taking to complete the planned $50 million acquisition of BVU’s telecommunications division within the current fiscal year, which ends June 30.
By SCOTT SHENK, Free Lance-Star (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
A roundtable meeting between members of the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce and high-ranking lawmakers in Washington took up the vexing issue of congestion on Interstate 95 and how to fix it. While some ideas were floated there was no clear solution reached on the primary issue: how to pay for major transportation projects. The Thursday afternoon roundtable included Congressmen Rob Wittman and Dave Brat and U.S. Sen. Timothy Kaine.
By ROBERT MCCARTNEY, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Maryland will give Metro its full share of $167 million a year in new, permanent funding, the governor and leaders of both legislative chambers said Thursday, putting the transit system on track to win a historic regional deal to support it. Virginia and the District have committed to provide their share for a total of $500 million a year in the dedicated funding that Metro says it needs for capital investments to ensure safety and reliability.
By SARA GILGORE , Washington Business Journal
George Mason University has received a $5 million donation from the Charles Koch Foundation to make new hires in its economics department. The funding will be used to add three tenure-track positions: a senior scholar, who would advise students, mentor faculty and bring additional leadership, and two junior scholars focused on research, according to a release published on the university’s website.
By DOMINICK MASTRANGELO, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
During his first public meeting of 2018, Radford Army Ammunition Plant Commander Lt. Col. James Scott preached transparency on Thursday and announced a new initiative aimed at reducing the arsenal’s environmental footprint in the New River Valley.
By NED OLIVER, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
The Richmond region’s population hit 1.29 million last year, continuing a growth spurt that has added 86,000 people since 2010, according to estimates released Thursday by the U.S. Census Bureau.
By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
The majority of Hanover County School Board members indicated Thursday that they favor keeping the names and mascots of two Confederate-named schools as the board plans to vote on potential name changes next month. At a work session Thursday, five of seven board members voiced support for the results of a survey conducted by the school system
By JILL PALERMO, Prince William Times
Prince William County school officials released the names and resumes Monday of 20 candidates vying for a rare opportunity to serve at the helm of the board overseeing the second-largest school division in Virginia. They include three former school board members, an FBI accountant, an eye surgeon, a retired judge, a custom-cake baker, a music teacher, a retired school psychologist, an Ace hardware-store owner, an attorney, three former military officers, the “recess mom” and an 18-year-old high school senior who is homeschooled.
By VANESSA REMMERS, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
In early 2018, Board of Supervisors Chairwoman Dorothy Jaeckle received a stream of emails from constituents asking for answers about a nearly 1,700-acre industrial megasite pitched by the Chesterfield Economic Development Authority for her southeastern district. “In August, you let the governor share the county’s well-kept secret about the megasite project. Then, you held four meetings where we received very few answers. Nearly six months later, we know nothing new. What’s the holdup?”
By MECHELLE HANKERSON , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
With another summer season fast approaching, the city is not any closer to figuring out rules for vacation homes. The City Council decided Tuesday night it needed 60 more days to decide where homeowners should be allowed to lease their homes for less than a month. Council members also needed more time to craft safety regulations for those short-term rentals.
By MIKE CONNORS AND VICTORIA BOURNE , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Weeks after a gunman killed 17 people at a Florida school, the City Council is giving the school division $2 million to improve safety. City Manager James Baker sent a letter to council members Tuesday about the funding. It said city and division staff began working together after the Feb. 14 Parkland shooting to review security measures and identify possible changes.
By SCOTT DAUGHERTY , Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
A Portsmouth sheriff’s investigator told a special grand jury Councilman Mark Whitaker treated his church’s credit union as his “own piggy bank” and that it still owed customers $240,000 when it shut down in 2015, according to new court documents. But Whitaker’s attorneys say Investigator Brett Johnson’s testimony last year was false – and that the Sheriff’s Office already had records at the time that proved all of the loans were paid off.
By DAVE RESS, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
The state Lottery is worried that General Assembly budget-writers have gotten a little ahead of themselves, predicting what our state-run numbers game can send public schools. Virginia set up the lottery with the idea that its profits — well north of a half billion dollars a year — would go to help finance public schools.
Richmond Times-Dispatch Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
Richmond’s new school superintendent, Jason Kamras, did a good thing when he shrank the size of his cabinet from nine positions to six. Then he promptly squandered the good will that move earned by jacking up their salaries.
Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
IN YEARS past, the government was expected to pay for big-ticket items that nobody could afford on their own, such as highways and bridges, while individual Americans were expected to cover their own private needs, such as health care and retirement. But now it seems that these mutual expectations have been reversed. More and more Americans are clamoring for government-subsidized health care, including expanding Medicaid rolls far beyond Congress’ original intent. Meanwhile, transportation officials across the nation are sending not-too-subtle messages that if those same Americans want to drive anywhere in the future, they should expect to pay a lot more for the privilege.
Virginian-Pilot Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
STATE LAWMAKERS approved hundreds of bills this year, but they cast aside a much greater number — either for more consideration in next year’s session or to be buried in the legislative graveyard. Many of the discarded bills had flaws that needed to be fixed before lawmakers could consider them for passage. But others, including bills that would have made travel safer and helped to protect dogs, deserved more serious attention than they received.
By TARINA KEENE , Published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
The dust has settled on another General Assembly session and one aspect of Virginia policy remains depressingly stagnant: reproductive health and abortion access.
Tarina Keene is the executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia.
By ANNE LYNAM GODDARD, Published in the Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
On April 16, 2007, my two worlds collided. During lunchtime at my new job, I was told my son was calling. I remember thinking how strange it was for him to call me at work, something he never did. When I picked up, it wasn’t him — it was an emergency room doctor near Blacksburg saying my son had been shot in class that morning
Anne Lynam Goddard is president and CEO of ChildFund International, which is based in Richmond.
By CARTER MELTON, Published in the Daily News Record (Subscription Required)
For more than 34 years, I was privileged to be associated with Rockingham Memorial Hospital, the last 30 as its President and CEO. During that entire time, the guiding principle of our hospital was our commitment and accountability to the community. I viewed my responsibility as a form of stewardship for a valuable community asset which touched every corner and person of the community.
Carter Melton is the retired president and CEO of RMH and former chairman of the Virginia Health Care Foundation Board.
The Friday Read
By ELIZABETH WEIL, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)
For Aleksander Doba, pitting himself against the wide-open sea — storms, sunstroke, monotony, hunger and loneliness — is a way to feel alive in old age.