VA's Largest Polluter Scales Back Outdoor Burning

The Radford Army Ammunitions Plant is one of the few places that still burns waste from the making of explosives, outdoors, in the open air. For years, activists have been urging the practice be stopped because of threats to human health and the environment. Now plans are in the works to do that and more. Lt. Col Alicia Masson started her new job as Commander of the Radford Arsenal just six weeks ago. But she says plans to replace open air burning of munitions waste with a new, cleaner type...
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As more wineries are opening in Virginia grape production in the state is not keeping pace…and with many Commonwealth counties looking to replace obsolete courthouses issues of historic preservation may create complications. Those have been among the most read stories over the past week at the Virginia Public Access Project’s VaNews link on www.vpap.org.

In Virginia, underage sex trafficking is real. That's why the Commonwealth has created new and stronger laws and methods of saving the children being victimized. With these efforts comes the bitter-sweet challenge of the rescue of child and then the recovery.

 

Mom with a Mission

17 hours ago

  Over the past 30 years, rates of childhood obesity in this country have quadrupled.  Eighteen percent of kids and 21% of teenagers are now considered overweight.  It’s a problem that has one Charlottesville mother on the warpath - preaching and writing the gospel of healthier habits.

Shelley Sackier is the slender mother of two healthy kids, so you might not expect her to worry much about the growing number of American children with a weight problem, but she has known - from an early age - that eating too much of the wrong things could have uncomfortable consequences.

Taming Runaway Education Costs

Jul 27, 2015

State lawmakers say they’re determined to find ways that will help reign in the runaway costs of getting a college degree.  Members of the House Higher Education Advisory Subcommittee applaud Virginia’s universities, but say the skyrocketing costs and college loan debt have become a very heavy burden for families. 

The cable TV series “TURN” will be back in Virginia for another season.  Producers of the historic drama about spies during the American Revolution will get about $6 million in tax dollars from the state.

In Richmond, debate continues over the wisdom of giving incentives to makers of films and TV shows.

Critics say taxpayers should not be bankrolling Hollywood, but Andy Edmund, who heads the film office, disagrees.

Matt Wasson, Appalachian Voices/Creative Commons

Burning coal to make electricity isn’t its only impact on the environment. The mining process has also been shown to pollute nearby waterways.

New rules proposed by the Office of Surface Mining Reclamation and Enforcement to protect that water, will be debated over the next several months. Some see them as a potential threat to dwindling coal jobs and others, as not strong enough to protect the environment.

REDIT HARALD HOYER / CREATIVE COMMONS

The ultimate routes of natural gas pipelines that would run through Virginia have yet to be determined.  Among the concerns that raises, is; what effect could pipeline construction have on people’s well water? 

Rest in Pieces

Jul 23, 2015

Shopping has moved to a whole new level this summer, with the opening of a gift shop in Richmond – a place that specializes in bones and soft tissue preserved in jars.  

If you’re looking for an unusual gift – something that really is one of a kind – Justin Torone invites you to visit Rest in Pieces, a store that specializes in things that are dead.

“There’s butterflies, and there’s like eyeballs in jars.  Everybody can find something here that they like.”

New Life for Tobacco Commission

Jul 23, 2015

In its 16 years, the Tobacco Commission has had a lengthy history of, well, slaps on the wrist. Created to distribute the state’s share of a national tobacco settlement in Southside and Southwest Virginia, members have been accused of playing a number of political and financial games under the guise of the commission’s intent. However, a few recent changes might have put the commission back on track.

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For years the use of hydraulic fracturing—or fracking—has been exclusive to Southwest Virginia, but some organizations and communities are vehemently opposed to it. Now, as companies are exploring more energy sources throughout the state, such as natural gas and shale, officials are feeling more pressure to amend regulations that govern the practice. 

State Water Commission Chair and Delegate Thomas Wright says he's in favor of offshore drilling and whatever the state can do to produce more energy—but he also advocates environmental stewardship.

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