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VIRGINIA'S UNEMPLOYMENT RATE WAS DOWN SLIGHTLY TO 2.7% IN SEPTEMBER, BUT EMPLOYERS REPORT PAYROLL DROP

By JOHN REID BLACKWELL, Richmond Times-Dispatch (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

Virginia’s unemployment rate edged down in September to 2.7%, even though payroll numbers reported by employers in the state dropped during the month. The state’s jobless rate in September was down from 2.8% in both August and a year ago, as the number of people counted as unemployed declined by 3,555.

VaNews October 19, 2019



PORTSMOUTH GENERAL DISTRICT COURT CLERK RESIGNS SUDDENLY FOLLOWING OFFICE REVIEW

By SCOTT DAUGHERTY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

The clerk of the Portsmouth General District Court abruptly resigned last week, days after officials with the Virginia Supreme Court’s Office of the Executive Secretary wrapped up a review of his office. James Verschueren offered no reason for quitting the job he’d held for almost three years, but in a letter of resignation addressed to the court’s chief judge he referenced some unspecified “tension" among his staff.

VaNews October 19, 2019



PLASTIC RECYCLING SQUEEZE REACHES COUNTY

By JENAY TATE, Coalfield Progress

The ripple effects of decisions on recycling in China have now hit home here. Effective Oct. 14, Wise County no longer accepts plastic for recycling at any of its convenience centers. Norton partners with the county on its service and will likely follow suit, while surrounding counties also are ending their plastic recycling.

VaNews October 19, 2019



VIRGINIA STRIKES DEAL TO PURCHASE RENEWABLE ENERGY FOR USE IN STATE FACILITIES

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

Virginia will purchase a significant amount of renewable energy for government offices under a contract with the state’s biggest utility announced Friday by Gov. Ralph Northam (D). Calling it the largest such contract negotiated by any state, Northam said the deal with Dominion Energy would ensure his goal of having state agencies get 30 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2022.

VaNews October 19, 2019



STATE TO BUY ENERGY FROM SOLAR, WIND PROJECTS TO POWER GOVERNMENT

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

Virginia is looking to the sun and wind to help power state government operations under a contract with Dominion Energy that Gov. Ralph Northam says will be good for the state’s environment, economy and taxpayers. The 20-year contract announced Friday commits the state to buying electricity from a proposed wind farm in Botetourt County — the first onshore in Virginia — and four solar power facilities under a purchased power agreement with Dominion, a Richmond-based energy company that operates Virginia’s largest electric utility.

VaNews October 19, 2019



NORFOLK’S NEW PRO-CASINO GROUP LOOKS LIKE IT’S CITIZEN LED. IT’S ACTUALLY BACKED BY THE TRIBE’S P.R. FIRM.

By RYAN MURPHY, Virginian-Pilot (Metered Paywall - 3 articles a month)

Last week, a slick-looking website went live, calling for supporters of Norfolk’s proposed Pamunkey casino resort to make their voices heard to counter those who are trying to stop the development. “All In for Norfolk Casino” looks and sounds like concerned citizens banding together as petition organizers on the other side gather signatures in an effort to overturn the City Council’s approval of a land deal for the casino.

VaNews October 19, 2019



GOOGLE AFFILIATE BEGINS DRONE DELIVERIES IN VIRGINIA TOWN

By RACHEL LERMAN, Associated Press

A Google affiliate started using drones Friday to deliver customers' Walgreens and FedEx purchases in a test being run in a Virginia town. Wing, which is owned by Google parent Alphabet, received federal approval earlier this year to make commercial deliveries by drone. It was the first drone company to receive the approval in the U.S., beating out Amazon's Prime Air, which revealed its drone plans in 2013.

VaNews October 19, 2019



WING MAKES FIRST COMMERCIAL DRONE DELIVERY IN CHRISTIANSBURG; SERVICE UNDERWAY

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

Susie Sensmeier received the first commercial drone delivery in the U.S. and said it wouldn’t be her last, either. Sensmeier, 81, and her husband Paul watched a FedEx package deliver a winter vest to their home at The Villas in Peppers Ferry as part of Wing Aviation’s grand opening Friday afternoon. The drone hovered 23 feet above the ground and dispensed the package from a tether onto the ground.

VaNews October 19, 2019



PLANS FOR WIND FARM IN BOTETOURT COUNTY MOVE FORWARD

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

Plans for the first onshore wind farm in the state, high on a mountain ridge in Botetourt County, are finally getting off the ground. The Commonwealth of Virginia has reached an agreement to purchase electricity generated by up to 25 turbines, each one about 550 feet tall, to be built by Apex Clean Energy in a remote spot atop North Mountain.

VaNews October 19, 2019



THE SMITHFIELD TIMES IS SOLD TO FORMER SUFFOLK NEWS-HERALD PUBLISHER

By KIMBERLY PIERCEALL, Daily Press (Metered Paywall - 5 articles a month)

The Smithfield Times, first published in 1920, will soon have a new owner. The former publisher of the Suffolk News-Herald has offered to buy it for an undisclosed price and make it an affiliate of Alabama-based Boone Newspapers Inc., among the ten largest newspaper chains in the country based on the number of publications it owns.

VaNews October 19, 2019