Sandy Hausman

Boutetourt Residents, Environmentalists Raise Red Flag Over Wind Turbine Project

Wind farms are now common in some western and Midwestern states, and that form of energy is actually cheaper than power produced with coal. Virginia could see its first wind farm on a ridge near Roanoke, but area residents and environmentalists are raising red flags over plans to install 25 turbines. Botetourt County sits at the southern gateway to the Shenandoah Valley -- a scenic and historic part of Virginia, home to farms and mountains, Civil War trails and small towns like Fincastle and...
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Back to School: Chaos and Umbrellas

13 minutes ago

It’s back-to-school time once again. Students everywhere are returning to campus excited to see each other and catch up – but Roanoke College Professor Brent Adkins wants to know something. He wants to know why students are in school in the first place – and encourages them to look beyond the degree.

Why are you here? This is a question that I ask all of my classes in one form or another. Let me tell you how the conversation usually goes.

Me: Why are you here?

Brook Hill Farm

One of the greatest challenges for children who are abused, neglected and at-risk is finding a path to help them recover and become healthy, happy and productive. In a way, that's also what Jo Anne Miller at Brook Hill Farm Horse Rescue has been doing for abandoned and abused horses. Miller, a certified Equine Specialist in Mental Health and Learning, runs a program called United Neigh where at-risk youth age 12-18 work with the horses that, in turn, help the children.

The Associated Press

Taking a page from the McDonnell-Bolling book of party unification, Attorney General Mark Herring now says--midway into his term--that he is backing Democratic Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam for Governor, while Herring will run for a second term. 

Many electric companies are replacing conventional home meters with smart devices that can be read, as well as turned on and off from a remote location.  These devices can also tell customers how much power they’re using at different times of day, and since some companies charge higher rates during periods of peak demand, consumers can adjust their power use to save money.  Dominion Virginia Power has a pilot program that charges customers less for power during times when demand is low.  The firm e-mails prices the night before, but one consumer says Dominion needs to do more if it’s seriou

Creative Commons

Electric companies across the state have been rolling out  new technology, installing home meters that monitor consumer use and send that information, automatically, to the company.  Smart meters also allow utilities to turn power on and off from a remote location.  Utilities say these hi-tech meters will help consumers reduce their electric bills, but one elected official is skeptical, and she’s leading a crusade against the devices.

Ever have a problem with the federal government? Like the IRS is hounding you for money that you don’t owe, or say a missing Social Security check? You should go directly to Virginia’s representatives in Washington for assistance. 

For the most part policy makers tend to be a pretty wonky bunch. They like details and data. But Washington is so gridlocked these days that a lot of the data lawmakers study is never implemented into policy. Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner bemoans the atmosphere.

A state task force of local general registrars has crunched the numbers and discovered what they already suspected: Their workload has grown significantly over the past two decades.  The trend has occurred, in part, due to a substantially greater number of voters, elections, and even new laws in the Commonwealth.

The city of Charlottesville has a problem - a nine-story structure in the middle of its historic downtown mall.  It was supposed to be a luxury hotel, but the original owner went bankrupt, and construction stopped.  Now, a local artist has come up with one possible solution for what many consider an eyesore. 

Virginia needs to take stronger, proactive steps to mitigate the negative effects of climate change, bolster the Commonwealth’s resilience, and reduce the state’s carbon footprint. That’s the conclusion of an expert panel established by Governor McAuliffe to formulate recommendations that could be quickly enacted. The strategies begin with concerted efforts to educate both citizens and public officials -- and raise the capital that’s needed to fund improvements.

The governor stressed the urgency of the related problems.

AP File Photo/Donna McWilliam

Virginia’s State Fair is less than a month away, and organizers are gearing up to host nearly a quarter of a million people at the Meadow Event Park near Richmond.  

In addition to rides, music and agricultural competitions, the fair will offer its usual selection of junk food – corn dogs, funnel cakes, cotton candy and something new.

“This year we have deep fried butter – a hunk of butter with batter, dropped in the deep fryer.”   

That’s the Farm Bureau Federation’s Kathy Dixon.  She says there isn’t much call for healthier fare.

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