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VaNews

Friday July 19, 2019

FROM VPAP


VISUALIZATION: IN PRIMARIES, MONEY DOESN'T ALWAYS BUY LOVE

The Virginia Public Access Project

On June 11, the top spending candidate won most -- but not all -- of the 35 General Assembly primary elections. Using the campaign finance reports released Monday, VPAP lists the top spender in each primary contest and whether or not he or she won.

EXECUTIVE BRANCH


FREE TUITION COMING TO VIRGINIA COMMUNITY COLLEGES UNDER SERVICE PROGRAM, GOVERNOR SAYS

By RYAN MURPHY, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Free tuition for community college? Gov. Ralph Northam said this week he would be rolling out a plan to deliver just that soon. The program, which Northam said would be called G3 for "Get skilled, get a job and give back," would follow the tuition-for-service model of programs like Americorps.


NORTHAM ANNOUNCES BROADBAND EXPANSION, FACES PIPELINE OPPONENTS

By JOE DASHIELL, WDBJ

Governor Ralph Northam visited Franklin County to announce a broadband expansion that will bring service to more homes and businesses there. He also encountered a protest by opponents of the Mountain Valley Pipeline. The broadband announcement Thursday morning brought Northam to the Summit View Business Park, one of the locations in Franklin county that will get broadband service because of the public-private partnership.


GOVERNOR ANNOUNCES NEW STATE OFFICE FOR OUTDOOR RECREATION IN STOP AT CARVINS COVE

By ANDREW ADKINS, Roanoke Times (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Gov. Ralph Northam said a new statewide office will capitalize on a “recession-proof industry” in Virginia before he paddled across Carvins Cove in a kayak. Northam announced the creation of the Office of Outdoor Recreation on Thursday at Carvins Cove Natural Reserve.


HERRING: WITH RECORD MARIJUANA ARRESTS, TIME NOW TO DECRIMINALIZE

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

With arrests for marijuana possession hitting their highest level in 20 years, Attorney General Mark Herring figures Virginia is getting farther and farther out of step with the rest of the nation — and with those stats show our state’s tough on dope stance is hitting African Americans unfairly hard, he’s reiterating his call for decriminalizing marijuana possession. “While other states are moving to a more sensible approach to cannabis, Virginia is still moving in the wrong direction. It makes absolutely no sense,” Herring said.

STATE ELECTIONS


SUPREME COURT OF VIRGINIA REJECTS MORRISSEY'S BID TO WIN BACK HIS LAW LICENSE

By FRANK GREEN, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Supreme Court of Virginia on Thursday rejected a bid by Joe Morrissey, a former state delegate and now a candidate for state Senate, to reverse a three-judge panel’s decision revoking his law license last year.


VA. HIGH COURT UPHOLDS MORRISSEY LAW-LICENSE REVOCATION

By BILL ATKINSON, Progress Index (Metered paywall - 5 free articles a month)

Lawyers for Democratic Senate candidate Joseph D. Morrissey said they were “extremely disappointed” with the state Supreme Court for not reversing revocation of their client’s law license, but vowed to seek his reinstatement to the Virginia State Bar “at the earliest opportunity.” Thursday morning, the high court upheld a 2018 three-judge panel ruling in Richmond stripping Morrissey of the license over claims of unethical professional and personal behavior.


GOP DEL. NICK FREITAS TELLS ELECTION OFFICIALS HE’S WITHDRAWING AS A CANDIDATE

By GRAHAM MOOMAW, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Republican Del. Nick Freitas told Virginia election officials Thursday that he was withdrawing as a candidate one day before the State Board of Elections was scheduled to decide how to handle his late campaign paperwork.


NICK FREITAS WITHDRAWS FROM RACE

By HILARY HOLLADAY, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Del. Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) has withdrawn his name from the race for state delegate in the 30th District, his lawyer confirmed tonight. This leaves Democratic challenger and political newcomer Ann Ridgeway of Madison County as the only official nominee for delegate in the 30th District, which includes Orange, Madison and parts of Culpeper County.


FORMER GOP STAFFER RUNNING FOR VIRGINIA DELEGATE KNOWS NOT TO KNOCK THE ‘SWAMP’

Roll Call

When D.J. Jordan was a Hill staffer, his drive into the city took an hour and 15 minutes, and that was on a good day. He turned to the fine art of slugging — picking up fellow commuters at designated parking lots to reach a quorum for the HOV-3 express lanes. “It has literally been my personal nightmare,” Jordan said. “I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve missed family dinner and missed my son’s football practice and missed my daughter’s dance rehearsal or recital because I’m stuck in traffic.”


SPEAKER COX WANTS TO FREEZE TUITION AGAIN, RAISE TEACHER PAY TO NATIONAL AVERAGE

By JUSTIN MATTINGLY, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Speaker of the House Kirk Cox announced Thursday that keeping college tuition flat again next year will be among his top priorities in the state budget. The plan would freeze tuition in consecutive years for the first time in nearly two decades. Cox also said he wants to increase teacher pay in the state.


TRUMP EFFECT THE TOP QUESTION IN VIRGINIA’S KEY ELECTIONS

By ALAN SUDERMAN, Associated Press

Donald Trump has been very good for Virginia Democrats. Voters unhappy with the Republican president, particularly in suburban areas, powered historic Democratic gains in the state House two years ago. Last year the same energy helped Virginia Democrats knock out three incumbent members of Congress. But hovering over this year’s closely watched legislative elections is one key question: Has the Trump effect worn off?


VOTER FRAUD ACTIVIST WILL APOLOGIZE TO CITIZENS HE ACCUSED OF BEING ILLEGAL VOTERS

By SAM LEVINE, Huffington Post

Prominent voter fraud activist J. Christian Adams has agreed to apologize to a group of Virginia citizens whom his organization wrongfully identified as noncitizens, as part of a settlement in a federal lawsuit accusing Adams of defamation and voter intimidation. Adams leads a group called the Public Interest Legal Foundation and served on President Donald Trump’s voter fraud commission. He helped produce two reports in 2016 and 2017 purporting to show thousands of cases of noncitizen voter registration in Virginia.

CONGRESS


CONGRESSIONAL MINIMUM WAGE VOTE SETS STAGE FOR STATE BATTLE

By BEN PAVIOUR, WCVE

All seven Virginia Democrats in the House of Representatives voted on Thursday to increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. But while Democrats' dreams of raising national minimum wage are all but certain to be dashed by the Republican Senate, they’re hoping for better luck at raising Virginia's minimum wage. The issue has become a focal point for both parties ahead of November’s elections, with candidates featuring it in campaign ads and talking points.

ECONOMY/BUSINESS


DUKE ENERGY SUED FOR 2014 COAL ASH SPILL ENVIRONMENTAL HARM

By EMERY P. DALESIO, Associated Press

The federal, North Carolina and Virginia governments asked a court Thursday to declare the country's largest electricity company liable for environmental damage from a leak five years ago that left miles of a river shared by the two states coated in hazardous coal ash.


FUTURE OF GAP, NORTON HOSPITALS STILL UNCERTAIN

By TERRAN S. YOUNG, Coalfield Progress

While Ballad Health insists it does not plan to close any facilities, the future for Lonesome Pine Hospital and Mountain View Regional Hospital remains unclear. One upcoming change at Lonesome Pine is certain: It will lose some emergency room traffic when Lee Regional Hospital reopens next year.


FEDS RECONSIDERING PERMIT FOR POWER LINES NEAR HISTORIC JAMESTOWN, BUT THERE’S A HITCH: THEY’RE ALREADY BUILT

By GREGORY S. SCHNEIDER, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

There was a catch to the public forum this week about whether Dominion Energy should be allowed to build a power line across the James River near historic Jamestown: The power line is already built.


ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS BEGINS SURRY-SKIFFES CREEK TRANSMISSION LINE ENVIRONMENTAL STUDY

By JACK JACOBS, Virginia Gazette (Metered Paywall - 5 Articles per Month)

The Army Corps of Engineers has kicked off its court-ordered environmental impact statement on Dominion Energy’s Surry-Skiffes Creek transmission line. The Corps is essentially redoing, in a more rigorous manner, the environmental assessment it conducted prior to awarding Dominion the permit to construct the 17-tower transmission line across the James River from Surry County to James City County.

TRANSPORTATION


VRE ADVANCING EXPANSION, MOBILE TICKET CHANGES

By MAX SMITH, WTOP

The expansion of Virginia Railway Express’ Broad Run Station at the Manassas Regional Airport in Virginia is moving forward, and the VRE Board is also authorizing additional efforts Friday to expand the rail yard at the end of the Fredericksburg Line. At Broad Run, the board is set to authorize contracting for final design of the station and rail yard expansion, new parking lot on the north side of the tracks and a tunnel connecting the lot to the station platform.


FIXING I-95: FORUMS START THURSDAY FOR INPUT ON TROUBLE SPOTS

By ALEKS DOLZENKO, Inside NOVA

State transportation officials are planning to study Virginia’s 179 miles of Interstate 95 from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge in Alexandria to the North Carolina border, and they’re seeking public comments online and at meetings this summer and fall, including a meeting Thursday in Lorton. The Commonwealth Transportation Board has initiated a data-driven study for the I-95 Corridor Plan


TRAIN STATION TO REMAIN IN ETTRICK

By JIM MCCONNELL, Chesterfield Observer

Once targeted for relocation by the federal government, a southeastern Chesterfield train station doesn’t appear to be going anywhere for the foreseeable future. The Commonwealth Transportation Board last month approved $5.7 million to renovate the village of Ettrick’s 74-year-old Amtrak station as part of the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation’s Six-Year Improvement Program.

HIGHER EDUCATION


VIRGINIA’S COMMUNITY COLLEGES WILL OFFER PROGRAMS WITH GUARANTEED TRANSFER CREDITS NEXT FALL

By MECHELLE HANKERSON, Virginia Mercury

A program to keep community college students on track for a smooth transfer to four-year schools should be ready by the 2020 school year. The State Council of Higher Education of Virginia approved guidelines for the Passport program this week.


UVA ESTABLISHES DARDEN ON THE POTOMAC

By STEPHENIE OVERMAN, Inside NOVA

Amazon is certainly not alone in appreciating Northern Virginia’s prime location. When the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business expanded its MBA studies in 2016, it chose to offer its Executive MBA program at a facility in the Rosslyn area of Arlington, overlooking the Potomac. “We love this area. We were in Rosslyn before Amazon decided they were coming” to build a second headquarters, said Professor Gregory B. Fairchild, the first director of Northern Virginia operations for the university.

VIRGINIA OTHER


A REMOTE VIRGINIA VALLEY HAS BEEN FLOODED BY PRESCRIPTION OPIOIDS

By JOEL ACHENBACH, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Pills by the tens of thousands, then by the hundreds of thousands and ultimately by the millions found their way to this remote city (Norton) tucked amid rugged, lush mountains in southwestern Virginia’s coal country. They were opioids, manufactured in bulk, prescribed by doctors promiscuously, prosecutors say.

LOCAL


THOUSANDS SIGNAL SUPPORT FOR REFERENDUM THAT COULD STYMIE $1.4 BILLION COLISEUM REDEVELOPMENT PROJECT

By MARK ROBINSON, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

More than 14,000 people want Richmond voters to decide whether the city charter should include language that could stymie the $1.4 billion plans to replace the Richmond Coliseum. Paul Goldman, a former head of the Democratic Party of Virginia, led a signature drive seeking a referendum on the proposed charter change on the November ballot.


NEW 5G ANTENNAS COMING TO VIRGINIA BEACH, BUT LEADERS WORRY ABOUY CLUTTER

By STACY PARKER, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Wireless carriers are beginning to lay the groundwork for new technology that will allow people to use their cellphones at higher speeds. A network of antennas attached to poles as high as 40 feet will be scattered throughout the resort area and in suburban neighborhoods across the city. ...But the idea of more metal clutter in the resort area is irking some resort leaders. Utility poles and equipment already interrupt the free-flowing landscape, they argue.


IS A BRIDGE STILL POSSIBLE?

By DIANA MCFARLAND, Smithfield Times (Paywall)

The Chairman of the Surry Economic Development Authority thinks starting a conversation about a bridge across the James River would be a forward-thinking strategy to ensure the future of a county that is losing population and lacks basics, such as a grocery store. “Surry is going to be stuck in the dark ages unless something happens,” said Sam Edwards, chairman of Surry’s EDA.


POLICE CHARGE STRASBURG MAYOR WITH SECOND DUI

By ALEX BRIDGES, Northern Virginia Daily

Authorities accuse Strasburg’s mayor of driving under the influence when he crashed a vehicle into the town's library in mid-May. Virginia State Police trooper C.S. Peer charged Richard A. “Rich” Orndorff Jr. on Friday with driving under the influence of alcohol on May 17 – a second offense within five years of a previous conviction on the same violation.


SNOW TRIAL DELAYED, REQUEST FOR NEW PROSECUTOR DENIED

By LOGAN BOGERT, Daily Progress (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The trial of Greene County Commissioner of the Revenue and his son, originally slated for this week, has been postponed until after the new year. Commissioner Larry Snow, 70, is accused of using a computer to gather identifying information that exceeded his authority as a constitutional officer. He allegedly distributed that information to his son, Bryant Snow, 30, who was in Central Virginia Regional Jail at the time.


VIDEO SHOWS CONFRONTATION THAT LED TO OUSTER; HARVILLE CALLS HIS REMOVAL 'A POLITICAL STUNT'

By CALEB AYERS, Danville Register & Bee

It was on July 11 that Coy Harville received a call and then a text from Pittsylvania County supervisor Bob Warren, asking to meet up for coffee at 4:30 p.m. at West Side Diner. When he arrived, Warren was there with supervisor Ronald Scearce, and there was a computer on the table. Warren gave Harville an ultimatum: either resign from the Pittsylvania County Service Authority Board of Commissioners by Monday, or the board of supervisors would vote to terminate him.

EDITORIALS


DOES DOMINION SEE FUTURE BLOWIN' IN THE WIND?

Free Lance-Star Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

Taking the attitude that “you have to start somewhere,” Dominion Energy, Virginia’s largest electric utility, is embarking on a $300 million wind power experiment involving the construction of two wind turbines 27 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. They should be up and running by the fall of 2020.


WILL 2020 BE TAYLOR VS. WARNER?

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

It’s more than 15 months before the 2020 elections and while the question of which Democrat will challenge President Trump for the White House, down-ticket races are already shaping up. In addition to all 435 seats in the House of Representatives being up for grabs, one third of the 100 U.S. Senate will also be in play, and one of the incumbents seeking another term is Democrat Mark Warner of Virginia.


12 QUESTIONS FOR REPUBLICANS WHO VOTED NOT TO CONDEMN TRUMP'S RACIST TWEET

Roanoke Times Editorial (Metered Paywall - 10 articles a month)

The U.S. House of Representatives has voted to condemn President Trump for telling four members of Congress — all American citizens, but notably all women of color — to “go back” to the “places from which they came.” We are disappointed that our three representatives — Denver Riggleman in the 5th District, Ben Cline in the 6th, Morgan Griffith in the 9th — could not find it in their conscience to vote for this resolution.

COLUMNISTS


DVORAK: SHE FAMOUSLY FLIPPED OFF THE PRESIDENT. NOW JULI BRISKMAN IS RUNNING FOR OFFICE.

By PETULA DVORAK, Washington Post (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

“Oh! You’re THAT woman!” the voters exclaim, and show her their middle finger. Then, realizing what they just did, they quickly open their hand and wave it in apology. “Yes,” says Juli Briskman, after that awkward moment on the doorstep has passed. “But I’m here to talk about full funding for our schools, supporting women in the workforce, an interconnected system of trails and parks in our county.”

THE FRIDAY READ


THE STORY OF 8 UNFORGETTABLE WORDS ABOUT APOLLO 11

By JOHN SCHWARTZ, New York Times (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

John Noble Wilford knew that he was writing one of the most important stories of the century: The first human landing on another world. His article — for the front page of The New York Times on July 21, 1969, needed to begin with a sentence that conveyed the immensity of the moment. And so, after the launch on July 16, but before the landing, he spent a sleepless night trying to come up with an opening sentence, known in the journalism business as a lede.